Syria, a martyred country since 2011, is trying to recover after years of war, massacres and shortages.
With nearly twenty million inhabitants, Syria is home to centuries-old Christian communities that have been present since the very beginning of evangelisation. In Damascus, in the footsteps of Saint Paul, or in Sednaya, in the footsteps of Justinian the Great, the Christians of Syria have been keeping the faith in Christ alive for two millennia!
In 2011, when war broke out, the situation of the Christians went hand in hand with that of the country. Horror is fast approaching the doors of Syrian families, who are suffering from water shortages and food rationing as well as the loss of their centuries-old homes. In the face of the exactions and crimes of the terrorists, we see that wherever the Islamists dominate, Christians as well as other religious minorities (Alawites, Druze, Ismailis, Yazidis…) are persecuted or massacred.
2013 saw the terrorists of the Al Nosra Front seize the holy village of Maaloula north of Damascus. The armed terrorist groups occupied the area and began to impose their yoke: churches were burned or bombed, villagers who refused to convert to Islam were beheaded, the inhabitants were forced into exile, in total destitution, and the sisters of the monastery of Saint Thecla were kidnapped.
It is this deeply shocking and murderous event that provokes a formidable chain reaction and sees the birth of a great human adventure.
Indeed, 4000 km from Maaloula, in Paris, Charles de Meyer and Benjamin Blanchard decided not to remain idle and launched a first humanitarian operation: “Christmas in Syria”. As the health situation deteriorated, the first humanitarian convoy brought four tons of toys, clothes and blankets to the Syrians. The French will not abandon the Syrians, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient is born.
Now anchored in Syria, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient is recognised as a leading humanitarian and social actor. If the mission of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient continues its work from the first day, it does so while developing new projects to prepare the future of the new Syrian generations.
The needs are real and innumerable and the situation is still alarming. The irruption of Covid-19 and international sanctions in the daily life of the Syrians, finishes crucifying economically the weakest households. Today, 80% of Syrians live below the poverty line. Bled by restrictions, shortages and rationing imposed by the international community, they are now regretting the war and have to arbitrate every day between food, clothing, health care and transport.
Medicine, fuel, bread, shoes, etc. have all become unaffordable.
To counter the crisis, the volunteers of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient continue to donate food and hygiene packs to families ruined by the economic sanctions or to elderly people abandoned and isolated. The team on the ground regularly organises deliveries of medicines and medical equipment to hospitals and dispensaries affected by the war and offers blankets and fuel stoves to cope with the harshness of the Syrian winters.
In addition to the emergency missions, long-term economic development projects aimed at encouraging Syrians to stay in their country and to stop fleeing.
From Damascus to Aleppo, passing through Homs and Mhardeh, the association is preparing for the post-war period and the rebirth of Syria by financing the reconstruction of shops and craft workshops, houses and schools destroyed by the fighting, and churches burnt or bombed.
Anxious to ensure a minimum income for farmers faced with a delicate economic situation and the vagaries of the climate, it is also intensifying its projects to support beekeeping and olive growing in the villages of Ain Halakim and Hazzour, in the Valley of the Christians, by planting olive trees or creating bee farms whose honey enjoyed an excellent reputation abroad before the war.
As a great promoter of the French language, the association has never ceased to promote the French language in Syria through French courses given by accredited teachers or by organising the French-speaking days, which used to be the privilege of the French State.
Finally, convinced that the future of Syria lies in its youth, it covers the school fees of many children in Aleppo.
Thanks to you, the teams on mission ensure the implementation of all these projects and regular donations for a population that has been exhausted and undermined by a decade of violence and destruction.
So that the resilience of the Syrians has not counted for nothing, so that exile is only a sad parenthesis and not a destiny, but above all so that their suffering is not forgotten, it is now time to help them rebuild the Syria that used to sustain them.
By investing for the future, you are working for the abandoned and battered Christian communities of Syria and for a population that is at the end of its rope but looking to the future. With your help, Syria will rise again thanks to the Syrians!