Maaloula, a small jewel nestled in the mountains of Syria. When we get to it by the road of Damascus, a Catholic mountain stands on the left and an Orthodox mountain on the right. Between the two sacred cliffs, a large statue of Our Lady of Syria is placed on its rocky promontory, overlooking the desert.

It is still early, and Maaloula already resonates with a vibrant hum of activity under the morning sun. Clouds of ochre dust rise from the winding streets of the village: the inhabitants of Maaloula are busy rebuilding their homes, which have been cruelly affected by the bombing during the liberation of the village in April 2014. Since then, a part of the village has been rebuilt but pieces of roofing still hang miserably in the ruined houses of the old town.

For its inhabitants, the destruction of their homes is a painful reminder of the severe human and financial consequences of war. Today, those who have stayed work hard to reconstruct their homes. Many home owners now face serious financial difficulties, as during the war, they were forced from their homes and made to rent an apartment or to take refuge with their neighbours, thus getting into financial debt.

Lawandios, inhabitant of Maaloula


My name is Lawandios Schalhoub, I live in Maaloula, the best village in the world! In 2013, the terrorists attacked and destroyed it. When I came home after the liberation, on April 14th, 2014, I found a pile of rubble instead of my house. Since then I committed myself to raising it stone by stone. It is located in the historical heart of Maaloula, in a maze of alleys and old houses.


In the narrow streets of the village, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient mingle with the inhabitants of Maaloula, sometimes pushing a wheelbarrow, sometimes carrying sacks of rubble, sometimes pouring their loads on the baskets hitched to their donkey. When the Angelus prayer resonates between the mountains, it is tea time. We then leave the site to settle on the terraces or on the roof of the houses hanging from the cliffs. It’s an opportunity to take a well-deserved break with the workers next door. In the village, people know the volunteers well, appreciate them and trust them fully.

When they need help, Syrians ask for Lawandios, a volunteer from the association, who coordinates the various projects on the site with the head of antenna. Volunteers are always available for their neighbours to remove the rubble, rebuild the walls, carry the stones. This is an essential long-term work.

Since its establishment in Maaloula in 2013, the association's volunteers have been involved in the renovation of around thirty houses and two restaurants. By helping the inhabitants of Maaloula to recover their livelihoods, to rebuild their homes, and by boosting the local economy, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient work for the village to help it to return to what it was before the war, a special place of pilgrimage for both pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. 

Thanks to your support, we can help the inhabitants of Maaloula to rebuild their village. Help us to help them more.



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.