Shoes and winter clothing as a Christmas gift for the needy in Aleppo

The northern city of Aleppo has been one of the hardest hit by the civil war in Syria. In the past it was one of the major economic centres of the country, but now this industry is destroyed and entire districts of the city have been reduced to rubble and ashes. The water supply has collapsed, and there is a lack of all the basic necessities of life. People often have to cross through dangerous areas, under fire from snipers or artillery bombardment, simply in order to try and purchase a few vegetables to eat.

The sisters of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary are doing their best to care for the suffering population – with the help of ACN – and to ease the worst of the need. Sometimes the children in particular show them the most touching tokens of gratitude. For example, little Céline brought the sisters a thank-you card, along with a bar of chocolate that she had been given in her catechism class. As you can imagine, a bar of chocolate is a precious rarity in Aleppo, and yet this little girl gave it to the sisters because she was so happy that, for the first time since the beginning of the war, she had been given some new clothing.

Now winter is knocking at the door, and the sisters want to help some 3,500 of these children and 4,300 other needy people with shoes and warm clothing. For the winters in Syria can also be bitterly cold, and winter clothing is more expensive than summer clothing and in desperately short supply. By helping in this way, the sisters are not only helping those in immediate need but also – by buying the shoes and clothing locally – helping to support the local shops and industries which produce and sell the clothing. In this city, where few people still have work, this is an important source of income for many struggling families. Sister AnnieDemerjian tells us: “This Christmas gift will bring a smile to many faces and bring a little joy to their hearts.” ACN is helping to cover the cost, with 70,000 Euros.