The Medical Dispensary
Within the complex of the convent of Tripoli, Lebanon, we have renovated 3 rooms, which have been used as a medical dispensary, (which are available two days a week with 3 doctors available, including a pediatrician) to cope with the serious situation that affects the country today.
A door of mercy
Gina Fenianos is one of the nurses of the medical dispensary in Tripoli and in these months of hard work she describes a situation of great difficulty: “Tripoli is the mother of the poor; but these days, economic deterioration is increasing, poverty is rampant, and we are experiencing numerous diseases. The children we often visit are already exhausted by the disease and families are not financially able to buy medicines at the pharmacy.“.
After the explosion in the port of Beirut, an episode that generated a political and institutional drama that brought the country to the brink of collapse, we set up numerous emergency centres in the country. Here, we welcome families from Beirut, Tripoli, Tyre, Deir-Mimas, Harissa reached by the distribution and aid of basic necessities.
Life in Lebanon today
Michel Rassam is one of the beneficiaries of our activities in Lebanon. Our work takes us inside increasingly inhospitable houses, runned by families often alone, who in recent years have abandoned all hope. Here, in fact, there are no pensions, banks no longer provide money and the collapse of the currency (lebanese lira) has made it impossible to buy even basic necessities such as bread.
Schools and Children
Due to the crisis of 2019, the condition of Lebanese public schools has worsened anche because of the impossibility of maintaining facilities and staff, they closed off for long periods, causing an increase in the dropout rate among youngsters. For this reason, in collaboration with local schools (such as Tripoli, Adonis, Carmelites, Gbaleh, Menjez) scholarships have been established to support the most needy students and families.
The school emergency
In Lebanon about 70% of students attend private schools, as the public school system has failed never been able to provide adequate basic education. The average salary in Lebanese liras is equivalent to about $50, while the cost of part of the average tuition of these private schools is around $500. Families are also required to pay in dollars, since the value of the Lebanese currency is at an all-time low.
The Soup Kitchen
The Syrians have been suffering from hunger for far too long: according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), food prices have risen by 800% in the last two years, even exceeding inflation in 2013. For this reason we have set up a soup kitchen in the Pro Terra Sancta Assistance Center where hot meals are prepared and distributed every day at the center’s Franciscan social kitchen.
Stories from the canteen
Boutros Kahla is 71 years old and his salary as a taxi driver must be enough for the needs of the whole family. Food, water, bills and medicine have become a luxury that Boutros and his family can no longer afford. The hot meal offered by the Aleppo canteen relieves for him the burden of daily food expenses and is a ray of hope for the family and for many other people who, like him, show up at the canteen every day.
In Syria, snow and cold are not good news. In recent years, however, the chances of coping with the weather have been reduced. The international sanctions approved in June 2020, in fact, have caused a substantial impossibility to buy fuel, the only means of heating for Syrian homes. For these reasons, we have developed a project of construction and installation of solar panels, in order to ensure electricity and heating to families.
A Light for Syria
“Intervening as soon as possible and by all means is becoming a vital issue – tells us George, one of the Pro Terra Sancta operators on the field – without electricity and heating, families cannot live with dignity and look abroad to look for an escape route. We must keep nourishing hope in the hearts of our families.“
A Name a Future
We have opened three helpdesks and reception in the area of East Aleppo to assist orphaned children of that area which are not yet registered at the registry office: the project is called “A name a future” and aims to welcome and assist children who have been living in a context of war for almost 10 years, in poor and degraded areas and children who from 9-10 years are forced to leave school to work. Moreover, the project offers support and help to the women and mothers of eastern Aleppo.
Together for the future
Pro Terra Sancta is committed in East Aleppo in the realization of the project “A name and a future”. Here, we offer every day care and protection to all orphaned and abandoned children of the place, especially where these children were born from episodes of sexual violence, unfortunately frequent during the war.
The eleven years of civil war that have hit the country have now given space to poverty, hunger and the blackest despair. We are present throughout the country with our social/emergency centers, which deal with distributing basic necessities, medicines and support for medical prescriptions, diesel for electricity and heating, but also clothes, detergents and hygiene products, diapers and powdered milk for children.
Jameela is a Syrian woman, beneficiary of the support of Pro Terra Sancta, who has just turned 35 and lives in Damascus, Syria. When the civil war began, she was 24 years old, and already a mother of two. Without a job, like many women she devoted herself to the care of the house and her children. Her husband Simon was concerned about supporting the family. “We weren’t rich, but we weren’t sick.” Until the beginning of the war.
Restoration of the Sanctuaries
We preserve the holy places with the aim of increasing awareness of their value in all local communities. These include the restoration of sites such as the Holy Sepulchre, the Mount of Olives, the Church of the Flagellation, the Basilica of the Dormition and many others.
The Holy Sepulchre
Bashar Jararah, 37 yo, a Muslim, mosaic expert and drawing enthusiast, is one of those responsible for the work of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre. “Working on the project of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is a great honor and a wonderful opportunity for me. The Basilica is a truly wonderful place. It was Osama Hamdan, director of the Mosaic Center, who gave me the opportunity to work on this unique and important project.”
The Hogar Niño Dios is a structure that since 2005 has been taking care of children with psychophysical disabilities, where families cannot intervene, offering numerous rehabilitation and educational activities thanks to the commitment of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word. Here, we support the educational and scholastic path of these young boys.
Anna, therapist of neuropsychomotricity of the developmental age, is one of the volunteers who works every day with these children. He tells us about his experience: “As soon as I graduated from the University of Turin, in Italy, I felt that I wanted to spend my time and skills in Bethlehem. So I chose a civil service project that would allow me to put on the field the skills learned in motor rehabilitation with children with disabilities.”
The House of the Child
La Casa del Fanciullo is a day care and residential home for young people (between 6 and 18 years old) that comes from contexts of extreme vulnerability, inaugurated in 2007. These children used to live in families that are unable or do not have the material possibilities to take care of them. The condition at home, in fact, is often of great discomfort for these children, subject to abuse, violence, economic difficulties and heavy separations of parents.
The Children’s Home
Sandro Tomašević, called abuna Sandro tells us the many success stories of the children of the Casa del Fanciullo: “a boy who today is an educator, others who are professors of mathematics and physics or another young man who has opened a restaurant and many who study at the University. These are the stories of children who, before entering the Casa del Fanciullo, were alone and left to themselves. Today many are loving husbands and fathers who consider this House a gift.”
Water and water system are one of the sensitive points in the Mediterranean region and, specifically, in the Middle East. Since 2011, we have been committed to supporting the poorest families in Bethlehem, repairing and replacing domestic plumbing systems and installing solar panels, boilers and water tanks with the aim of making homes habitable.
The water emergency is one of the main problems facing the citizens of Bethlehem: here the water, in fact, reaches the houses through the water system only every 20 days. For this reason, through the involvement of the local population, the project aims to carry out interventions concerning access to water and maintenance of houses, with the aim of alleviating the impact of unemployment – which increased exponentially during the Covid19 emergency – creating job opportunities for currently unemployed inhabitants of Bethlehem.
Butterfly Children are those suffering from the so-called “Epidermyolysis Bullosa”, a serious, rare and incurable disease caused by hereditary factors that makes the skin of the newborn as fragile as the wings of a butterfly. A hug or a caress causes suffering comparable to third-degree burns. Contact is the biggest fear of these children.
Today in Gaza there are more than 100 children suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa and the number is constantly increasing. Children suffering from this disease need constant medical assistance, physiotherapy and specific creams. In severe cases, blisters can also occur inside the body, such as in the mouth or in the membranes lining the stomach. But the embargo makes it very difficult to get medicines in.
Support for refugees
Greece has become an obligatory landing point for refugees from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years. In Rhodes in particular there are some of the poorest migrant families. Here we assist the Franciscan Father Luke in distributing food and medicines to the most fragile, and in finding accommodation and professional accommodation.
Father Luke Gregory
In recent years, Father Luke, who runs the center, has welcomed in his parish of Rhodes and offered valuable aid to the many refugees who land on the island waiting to build a life in Europe. Among them, there are many minors, with whom the father works every day.
supporting for our projects
Without the support of friends and donors we would not have been able to achieve these goals: let’s keep walking together!