Salesian missionaries launch new educational support projects and provide economic support for families
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Syria are launching new initiatives to help support families in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Already working to address the humanitarian crisis brought about by Syria’s civil war, Salesian missionaries have remained steadfast in their support of people living in the country.
The population in Syria has shrunk from 21 million to 17 million as a result of many leaving the country as refugees and the more than a quarter million deaths from the war. Today, more than 13 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian support, including the more than 6 million internally displaced people—28 percent of whom are living in the capital city of Damascus. More than 3 million live in hard-to-reach areas.
Activities across the country have been impacted by curfews, movement restrictions, market closures and commercial freezes. The costs of primary goods continue to exceed purchasing power, and Syrian families are experiencing unimaginable economic stress.
Children are also facing challenges with school, many which have opened and closed and opened again during the pandemic. From primary school children to university students, students are not equipped to follow lessons from home and are falling further behind in their studies.
Reaching Syria and navigating around the country is not easy. As in the case of most pandemics, many international organizations and non-government organizations left the country a long time ago. However, Salesian missionaries have remained and continue to stand alongside the population.
Salesian missionaries operate three centers in Kafroun and the particularly high conflict areas of Aleppo and Damascus. 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.
To address the new challenges brought about by the pandemic, Salesian missionaries have set up two support programs for those in academic difficulty. One will benefit 200 children and another will support 180 students in their last years of high school and university. Along with these school support projects, economic support will be provided to 200 vulnerable families.
Father Pier Jabloyan, director of the Salesian Center in Aleppo, said in a recent statement, “It is important that we remain supporting the people in dire need in Syria. Even in the face of the global pandemic, we will remain focused on our mission of helping poor youth and their families.”