Bhamdoun, a town in the Lamartine Valley on the road to Damascus, still bears the marks of the recent war. On the road, buildings riddled with bullets struggle to stand up, and testify the violence that the Christian population were subjected to throughout the civil war, including the hunt of the Christians in Bhamdoun in 1983. This is the reason why William, a city official, invited us to visit the Maronite school of Saint Elijah, where we were then welcomed by Sister Agathe, the school principal.

Sister Agathe, the school principal.

Before the war, nine hundred children attended school here. Today, they are barely two hundred and fifty.

Sister Agathe explains to us that the peculiarity of this school comes from the singular religious diversity of the children in the school: half are Christian, the other half are Druze. A symbol of peace and living together, the school nevertheless requires a lot of work and refurbishment. Affected, she insists that, despite a difficult past, the school must remain a warden of a stable peace beyond religious conflicts. "When we were forced to leave school during the war, it was a very painful moment. When we came back, once the clashes ended, the school was gone. Tables, paintings, walls, boards, doors, files were all gone. Everything went up in smoke. Only the ashes and the burnt ground still showed the bruised school. We have to rebuild everything."

In the basement, we note with dismay the difficulty of the school of Saint Elijah. Seen from a long dark corridors, the multitude of dilapidated toilets testifies to the sanitary emergency the sisters, and hence the students, are facing. Everything has to be rebuilt, from the defective plumbing, to the missing piping or the worn sinks and toilets. "How can we ensure healthy education for children if our school is not safe?" Sister Agathe insists. In addition to the distress of schoolchildren, the health risk is crucial, with a high risk of illness that can spread through the school. Thus, we tried to reassure the sisters by promising to come back soon and to participate in the fight against the insalubrity of this space of life, in order for the school to recover all the dignity that it deserves.

It would cost an estimated € 10,000 to renovate the sanitary facilities at the school of Saint-Elijah. SOS Chrétiens d'Orient has committed to fund it up to 3,000 €.

Allow the children to find decent sanitary facilities.



Volunteering is a commitment for a defined period. The volunteer is committed to a mission to serve others. To volunteer at SOS Chrétiens d’Orient you must:

- be older than 18 years old

- stay for a minimum for 1 month

- being in good physical shape

- have parental agreement for a possible departure

"I ask you to be revolutionary. Have the courage to go to counter-current. And also have the courage to be happy!" Pope Francis, July 28, speech to the volunteers of the WYD, Rio de Janeiro.

"I ask you to be revolutionaries. Have the courage to go against the grain. And have the courage to be happy!"

Pope Francis,

July 28, speech to WYD volunteers, Rio de Janeiro.