More than three years after the outbreak of war in Syria, little children breathe an air of sadness and pain. Their homes, families and innocence have been brutally torn from them by continued and horrifying violence; their futures literally smashed apart. In cities around the war-torn country, and in refugee camps across the border, Salesian missionaries are working tirelessly to offer comfort -- and new hope -- to these precious victims.
This work extends beyond providing medical attention, warm meals and shelter to those who need it. While humanitarian aid is a crucial and necessary first response, Salesian missionaries are equally committed to maintaining educational opportunities for Syria’s children -- both inside the refugee centers and out.
More than ever, the ability to attend school, and even receive vocational training, is paramount to these children’sfutures.
According to the United Nations, more than 1.3 million of the estimated 2.5 million Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons are under the age of 18. Further, nearly two-thirds of these children do not have access to any education. Without effective intervention, youth risk losing their sense of dignity and value -- which fuels the dissatisfaction and despair that leads to ongoing social instability.
“In times of crisis, education remains one of the most effective ways to pave a path toward peace,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions. “In addition to the crucial role it can play in building a sense of normalcy and a culture of respect and tolerance, education arms youth with the knowledge and skills necessary to gain long-term employment, achieve economic stability, and become global citizens who make meaningful contributions to society.”
For Salesian missionaries, the challenges to providing this education are significant and -- at times -- disheartening. Growing demand is further straining already scant resources. The hazards of travel mean it’s often too dangerous to conduct school for students living on the edges of violence. And, many boys and girls simply don’t understand why they should study if a bomb could drop on them tomorrow.
Still, thousands of Syrian youth are rediscovering new hope and opportunities for the future with our help. And, while thousands more still await their chance, our mission will persevere. Thanks to the caring generosity of our many friends, we will continue to expand this critical work.
Your support helps ensure that any child victim of war or disaster -- whether in Syria or in countries around the globe served by Salesian missionaries -- can find new hope and better opportunities through education. Thank you for making our mission, your mission.