Ahead of the start of the new school year, Caritas Syria has completed renovation work on a public primary school in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Aleppo, once the economic and commercial capital of the country.
In order to allow the young students to use the premises regularly, workers and volunteers from the Catholic organization have restored the entrance courtyard, the fencing, the toilets in a state of serious disrepair, repainted the classrooms and the premises where the administration is based. In addition to this, the roof and rainwater pipes have been repaired and the unsafe stairs restored.
The Gaza school, a public establishment, is located in the Al-Sakhour district, eastern sector of Aleppo city. The inauguration of the facility took place a few days ago in the presence of the local director of the Department of Education Moustafa 'Abdoul-Ghani, representatives of Caritas Syria, administrative staff and a large delegation of teaching staff.
The aim behind the project, explains Georges Antoine Kahal from Caritas Syria, is to "support the educational process" for the younger generation by helping to restore schools and institutes "with limited resources and possibilities". In this area in particular, students and families "suffer from serious financial weakness" and for this reason a contribution in addition to the resources provided by the state is essential.
He continues, "We wanted to re-establish an appropriate educational atmosphere and create a safer and more student-friendly environment." The work lasted five weeks and was carried out during the summer holiday period, so that the school year could resume on schedule.
"This experience is the first of its kind for Caritas Aleppo, while renovation work had already been carried out and completed in at least two schools in Damascus in the past," Kahal emphasizes.
Having archived the work at al-Sakhour, judged "positive", the Catholic organization is already looking ahead to next summer to intervene in another school, the Abdul Karim Al-Saleh School in Baaidin. In addition to the facilities, Caritas Syria has launched a series of initiatives aimed at students ranging from integrated education to psychological support and funding for the most needy. "Our goal is to expand the aid pool from the current 200 to 400 students"" concludes the head of Caritas.
Finally, in anticipation of the start of lessons, Catholic volunteers distributed hundreds of backpacks and stationery for poor students in Aleppo and Damascus.
In recent years, Caritas Syria and the Church of Aleppo have launched several projects to support and help a population - including children - tormented by war and violence. Many of these have continued successfully over time: from cleaning up the city to aid for young married couples, from food parcels to funds for electrical supplies; and also summer centers for hundreds of children, contributions to cover medical expenses and medicines, check-ups, examinations and treatment. These are all initiatives in favor of the needy, which in many cases the people of Aleppo - for years epicenter of the Syrian conflict until its liberation in December 2016 - cannot afford.