The summer oratory in our church, the Latin Parish St. Francis in Aleppo, was inaugurated on 8 June with the title "Here... my place": this year it was a particularly important and heartfelt moment of joy, giving and love, after the terrible earthquake in Syria last February.
The situation in Aleppo is tragic; because of the economic crisis in the region, and the devaluation of the Syrian Pound; everything is very expensive. Families do not have the means to buy basic food, medicines, etc. As usual every year, the church feels the crisis of the families, the pressure is great due to poverty and the difficulty of supporting their children. Of course, those who pay the price are the children, because we find that they need to go out and play, to talk and make friends, eat and be satisfied.
Therefore, this summer center named "Here... my place” is a space for their children to play, enjoy and practice their hobbies, as well as for food (due the high cost of living, children do not have enough to eat).
The activities - coordinated by the Father Guardian Bahjat Elia Karakach, friar of the Custody of the Holy Land and fr. Khokaz Iohanna Mesrob, supported by the club's executive officials Georges Georges and Nadine Khoudary - will take place in the premises of the catechetical center of our parish and picnic in the open air.
Our children have not yet emerged from the trauma of war and now the stress of the earthquake and the economic crisis. Our goal is giving children a taste of joy, of life.
Every day (for 5 days of the week), we will welcome 450 children: 225 in the center and 225 picnics in the open air. At the center, the children will be divided into 2 groups; and each group has its own parallel activities. Like this, each child will have the activities 2 days a week: once in the center another time outdoors. On Sunday, there will be Mass.
At the center there will be workshops (Educational and Religious Encounter, Introduction to Syrian Christian History), educational and religious competition, movement games, dancing for girls and football for boys.
We will put the children in front of challenges and help them to overcome them, physical, cultural and cognitive challenges, through competitions and excursions in the old town.
Like every year, the official supporter of these activities is the ICO (Hilfswerk Initiative Christlicher Orient) organization, which proves to us the fact that we are members of one body that is Christ.
Roula Mistrih, Project coordinator of the Latin Parish St. Francis in Aleppo