SYRIA: Camps help youth impacted by earthquake
Summer camps to support youth in overcoming stress and trauma
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Damascus are preparing summer activities to help nearly 2,000 youth overcome the trauma caused by the devastating Feb. 6 earthquake that impacted Turkey and Syria. More than three months later, the situation has not improved significantly. The war’s aftermath, along with the economic and social crisis the country is experiencing, has greatly impacted all. Many children see no hope for the future.
The earthquake worsened the health situation in the country, which was already dire due to the war. Cases of cholera, scabies, diarrhea, hepatitis and measles have been detected. Due to a shortage of doctors and infrastructure, the only solution is care at private hospitals, which is inaccessible to most. According to the United Nations, more than 9,000 buildings collapsed in Syria, and as many are uninhabitable. It has been estimated that 8.8 million people need emergency assistance.
On the front lines in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, Salesians provided shelter, food and emergency aid. Salesian solidarity worldwide has raised more than 2 million euros for the emergency. All the projects for which these funds were raised are currently running successfully and benefiting hundreds of youth and their families.
Now, Salesians are turning their efforts to more long-term recovery, including helping youth overcome stress and trauma through sports and recreational activities. One of these activities is holding summer camps for youth between the ages of 8 and 18. The camps will take place at Salesian centers in Damascus and Kafroun and include transportation, food and all materials.
A study by Mariam Ghosn, a psychologist working with the Salesians in Aleppo, shows that 85% of youth need psychological support and that by participating in group activities and therapy, they can heal the trauma caused by the earthquake.
Salesian missionaries operate three centers in Kafroun and the particularly high-conflict areas of Aleppo and Damascus. Throughout the ongoing war and struggles in the country, Salesian centers continue to meet the needs of their communities through the distribution of food, economic aid and scholarships to help young people continue with their schooling. Their work continues now even in the face of additional tragedy.
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Salesian Missions – Syria
*Any goods, services or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.