September 2018

Summer Camps for Syria 2018: Physically far but near to our hearts

“Dear children of the GREST Summer Camps in Aleppo, we have just seen the report that concerns you. THANK YOU! Your life is a point of reference for us that we are used to living easily … For you we have made this letter and we all hope to keep it with you as a sign that you will not be forgotten by anyone “.

The letter that comes from the GREST of Provoglio d’Iseo is just one of the hundreds of testimonies of friendship and closeness addressed to the children of Aleppo and Damascus, who have just finished the summer camp that lasted over two months. In addition to letters like this, numerous drawings have arrived from all over Italy: a panorama depicting the beautiful hills of Bazzano, a self-portrait of a young girl who exclaims “We want peace!” And many others. And there are also many offers, many small sacrifices of Italian kids who really want to be there and stay with their peers of the troubled Syria.

So this summer too, the proposal launched by the Franciscan friars of Syria – together with ATS pro Terra Sancta – of twinning between the Italian speakers and those of Damascus and Aleppo, received a moving response from everyone.

Meanwhile in Syria many children shared moments of joy and serenity in colorful games and discovered their talents in sports and training. Almost 1,300 children were present in Aleppo, both Catholics and other Christian confessions. For many of them, GREST was a moment of great innovation, a surrogate for the “impossible” summer holidays in these years of war and insecurity.

Even today, when the world looks with cautious optimism at the negotiations in Teheran next September, ATS pro Terra Sancta does not tire of re-proposing a consolidated initiative that has involved and excited thousands of children so far, yet so close in their desire to grow and to build the future. An initiative that from both sides of the Mediterranean has characterized a moment of growth, a lesson in life. Not only for the little ones, but also for all the adults who accompanied them and witnessed this show sharing, in friendship and in faith. Not only at the tables of international politics: here too the future of Syria begins.

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