A Nun who has put her life on the line to provide emergency aid for families in Syria has called on people in the West not to forget the people of Syria due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sister Annie Demerjian, a Project Partner of Aid to the Church in Need explained that after suffering ten years of conflict and its consequences, the people of Syria are still in desperate need of help and healing.
Sister Annie told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that Covid-19 has slowed Syria’s recovery process. She said: “Syria is like someone who has had a serious operation and s/he needs to heal, s/he needs to recover and s/he suddenly doesn’t have time to recover. The world has begun to forget about Syria, and that’s painful.”
According to the Nun, the pandemic struck with a hard blow just as people were beginning to pick up the pieces of their lives again.
“Everybody knows we are coming out of a very difficult situation, the civil war.
People were beginning to breathe again, the remaining Christians were beginning to rise and stand again on their feet.
“Then. the pandemic came and people collapsed. It’s a big burden – no work, no jobs.”
Sister Annie reiterated that the civil war, the coronavirus pandemic and new economic sanctions is causing so much suffering and leaving many in abject poverty.
She said: “Life without electricity and gas is very hard and that’s because of the sanctions. Only every couple of hours, we get one hour of electricity. That is not enough to heat a house. “There is not enough gas even to cook food.”
“Many times we receive calls, people are hungry, they have nothing to eat.”, she lamented.
Last Christmas, ACN partnered with Sister Annie to provide jackets for more than 26,000 children for the winter months as the temperatures dropped below zero.
She said: “A father cannot buy his child an anorak because one anorak is equal to his salary, or more. Our campaign was for families who find it impossible to help their children. It has helped thousands of children.
“You cannot imagine the joy on the faces and in the eyes of children when they received these jackets”.
Emphasizing that the jackets campaign also open doors of employment opportunities for needy people, Sister Annie added:
“We are trying to help the economy, 40 shops and small factories made these anoraks which, in turn, also created jobs. We had two goals: creating jobs and distributing anoraks to our children in this harsh winter.”
Sister Annie has a word of gratitude for ACN’s benefactors.
She said: “Even in this difficult time, the benefactors of ACN didn’t stop supporting us. I always pray for the benefactors and the workers of ACN – you are doing amazing, amazing work. Through ACN, we are helping 270 families with their daily costs of living. We are also supporting 84 families in Aleppo and Damascus with their rent.”