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Aid to the Church in Need
World News

Charity launches array of projects for Syrian Christians

by Tola Mbakwe

Aid to the Church in Need has backed projects in towns and cities across the country since almost two thirds of families in Aleppo are surviving on less than £1.60 a day - and the other third are living in extreme poverty.

Working with local Church leaders who have identified urgent needs for Christian families, the charity is giving more than £875,000 to help those in Homs, Aleppo, Damascus and other towns with projects aiming to strengthen the remaining Christian communities.

Other projects include: 
o Food aid for 2,200 displaced families.
o Ongoing support for two schools.
o A multi-purpose sports hall and pitch for young Christians.
o Help for 250 university students
o Rent assistance for 340 families.
o Basic necessities for war wounded

Sister Yvone Yousef Bahdi helps run Our Lady of Al-Zanabek Secondary School and the Lord's Care Orphanage in the Azizieh quarter in Aleppo.

The school has 200 boys and girls in attendance at what was once a school for 600 girls.

Despite the school being bombed three times, the teaching continued as the Sisters made improvised repairs to the ceilings and covered the windows with plastic sheets where the glass had been shattered.

Sister Yvone Yousef Bahdi, said: "We cannot light the children's class rooms because the diesel generator does not have the capacity for it.

"We are continuing the educational process in order to nurture a generation which believes in Christian morality and good citizenship."

The Al-Yarmouk Youth Sport Centre in Aleppo is also helping to rebuild young people's confidence within a safe environment, after they have suffered from isolation and anxiety from being confined to their homes for years because of constant bombing.

Kevork Mavian, the centre's coordinator, described the importance of re-opening the sports hall.

He said: "To be able to continue with these sports-based activities in complete security is a source of joy and new hope for us all, and an encouragement in our faith. The Christian faith is part of our identity.

"This project is giving us another perspective on life, especially for the young people in this area... It helps those suffering psychological problems and trauma due to the years of war, and it also helps families to be able to live a more normal life and so contemplate remaining in Syria".

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