Edited by board administrator 11/10/2016, 11:20 am
Syria: More than one million children appeal for peace
By Eva-Maria Kolmann
This week children at more than 2,000 schools all over Syria are drawing and writing messages to the political decision makers of the European Union and United Nations under the motto “Peace for Children”. This appeal for peace is a joint campaign being carried out by Catholic and Orthodox Christians in Syria, and members of all religious communities have been invited to take part.
(A young Syrian boy writing out a peace message © Aid to the Church in Need)
Children of all Christian denominations in Damascus, Homs, Yabroud, Aleppo, Marmarita and Tartus made October 6th a joint Action Day for Peace. This week are expressing their desire for peace through songs, dances, theatrical performances, prayers and other activities. Several children in Aleppo will also talk about their personal experiences. Sister Annie Demerjian, one of the local organisers of the event, said, “When a child talks about losing his father, for example, we will follow it up by praying for all children in Syria who have lost parents or siblings.” The main ceremony will be held in Damascus on October 7th and it will be attended by groups of 50-75 children from each of the major centres of the country.
(Right to left: Sr. Annie, Sr. Monique, Sr. Fida at the Greek-Melkite Patriarchate with the drawings from different schools of Damascus © Aid to the Church in Need)
In addition, Syrian schoolchildren – also including many Muslims – are writing messages to the global community on white balloons. These include such messages as “We want peace!”, “Give us our childhood!”, “We don’t want any more war!” and “We want to go to school!”
(Muslim and Christian children with their teachers preparing for the Action Day for Peace. They have written on the balloons messages such as: Give us Peace! Peace for Syria! Give us our childhood!
Under the motto “Peace for Children”, children at many Syrian schools are drawing and writing messages to the political decision makers of the European Union and United Nations. A petition is also being signed.
This appeal for peace is a joint campaign being carried out by Catholic and Orthodox Christians in Syria, and members of all religious communities have been invited to take part © Aid to the Church in Need)
Thousands of children in Syria have been killed during the war. According to data provided by the Oxford Research Group, more than 11,500 children died in the first two years of the conflict alone. Half of the 11.4 million Syrians who have fled inside or outside of the country are underage minors. More than 2.1 million Syrian children are unable to attend school because of the war. Many children are severely traumatised. Children are frequent victims, not only of direct acts of war, but of abductions, torture and sexual exploitation.
The children’s campaign for peace arose from an initiative of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Since the conflict began in March of 2011, the international pastoral charity has been active in supporting the victims of the war and providing financial support, in particular for families who have lost their homes, have been forced to flee within the country or have been displaced. Aid is primarily granted to projects that secure the immediate survival of the people, and especially of children and babies. A sizable amount of the financial aid is used to procure accommodations for what are in general large families with many children, to supply essential foods and medicines as well as baby formula and diapers, warm winter clothing and heating oil and electricity. It is also being used to ensure that children can attend school. The aid is provided directly to the families in need, irrespective of their religious affiliation, through Catholic bishops and local church structures. Over the past five years, emergency aid amounting to approximately $19 million has been granted.
Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.
The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 172 languages and 50 million copies have been distributed all over the world.
While ACN gives full permission for the media to freely make use of the charity’s press releases, please acknowledge ACN as the source of stories when using the material.
For more information or to make a donation to help the work of Aid to the Church in Need, please contact the Australian office of ACN on (02) 9679-1929. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Aid to the Church in Need PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153.
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