(Vatican Radio) Thousands of Syrian children ravaged by war are to be given “drops of milk” next year as part of an aid scheme by a Catholic charity.
A renewed campaign for 2018 by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Italy will ensure Christian families in Aleppo are provided with powdered milk as they struggle to cope with unemployment and poverty following several years of conflict.
In a letter to benefactors of the charity, the Vicar Apostolic of Aleppo, Monsignor Georges Abou Khazen, writes: “The bombs may have ceased but the emergency is the same.
“This is an essential initiative aimed at the main victims of the conflict: children. Many of them remain traumatised by the violence and many have lost family members or even friends from school.”
Residents in the largest city in Syria have been struggling to recover after the four-year Battle of Aleppo which eventually saw Syrian government troops supported by Russian airstrikes defeat rebel forces in 2016.
The campaign “A Drop of milk” has been in operation for nearly three years in the Aleppo and helps 2850 children from 1500 Christian families every month. Parents are also benefitting from the free milk which, along with other groceries, has become very expensive.
ACN’s project aims to encourage families who have fled Aleppo to return to the city and to help those who have remained stay “healthy and strong”.
Addressing the CAN’s benefactors, Mgr Khazen said: “It is thanks to your help that we are able to remain here to support our poor people. And so we do not feel like a small and persecuted minority but part of a great family which is the Church universal.”
(Richard Paul Marsden)