Middle East: When you can’t find joy, create it

To celebrate this Christmas, ACN is providing 45,000 gifts to needy children in Syria and Lebanon.

Distribution - Christmas gifts (clothes) for the children in Damascus
Distribution – Christmas gifts (clothes) for the children in Damascus

This year, 35,000 children in Syria and 10,000 in Lebanon will receive Christmas presents in the form of urgently needed clothing. Pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is sending over half a million euro to these two countries, to bring joy to the children on Christmas Eve, and to show them that they are not forgotten.

In both countries clothes have become almost unobtainable. Sister Annie Demerjian, from the Congregation of Jesus and Mary, who for years has worked on this project with ACN, laments that, “many families here can only dream of new clothes! To buy a pair of trousers, a shirt and shoes these days in Syria you need two months of minimum wage.”

Christmas gifts (clothes ) for the children in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Kameshli, Hassakeh, Swidaa, Horan, Wadi Al Nadara- 2022
Christmas gifts (clothes ) for the children in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Kameshli, Hassakeh, Swidaa, Horan, Wadi Al Nadara- 2022

Because of the war and the dramatic economic situation in Syria, ACN has been supporting this initiative since 2015. In Lebanon it is the third year the foundation has been working with religious orders to distribute Christmas gifts to children. This year, the initiative in Lebanon is accompanied by the motto: “When you can’t find joy, create it.”

Sister Raymonda Saada, from the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Lyons, in Lebanon, already worked on this initiative last year. Thanks to her skilful management she procured Christmas presents for 11,000 children, instead of the planned 10,000. The gifts were distributed during celebrations for families, to reinforce the Christmas message. Once again, this year, many young volunteers will support Sister Raymonda in getting the children in the mood for Christmas with songs, prayers and biblical reenactments.

“Despite the war and the difficult situation, around 500 children in southern Lebanon will also receive presents”, says Sister Raymonda. “In my prayers I never forget ACN’s benefactors. Without you we would not be able to achieve anything. Thank you for believing in this project. You and all your donations are what made this dream a reality. We are absolutely sure that Jesus Christ is blessing you, wherever you are; and with every present, with every smile of a child, you are receiving a special grace. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

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