After East Aleppo has been liberated there is a certain peace in the city and people are coming back home. The destruction and lack of structures are vast, the needs huge: food basket, fuel for heating their houses and electricity. Since the start of the conflict, the pontifical foundation ACN (Aid to the Church in Need) is channeling urgent help for Christians in Syria. The local project partners are now addressing a very urgent issue for the Christians in Aleppo to ACN: milk for children.
Aim of the project is to provide to Christian children of Aleppo under the age of ten a certain amount of milk every month. In these times of scarcity, milk is essential for the growth and wellbeing of children. The ‘Drop of Milk” program is ongoing since May 2015.
The project is most appreciated by all the Christian Churches in Aleppo since it is the only program which helps all Christian regardless of their rite or church. It is an ecumenical program. But the financing of the extremely important project is not more guaranteed. Aleppo is not in the media anymore and people are not aware of the situation in the city, but the conditions are still deplorable. 80% of the population of Aleppo is displaced and 70% live below the poverty line. The number of families in need of food parcels to survive has increased dramatically. Dr. Nabil Antaki, the Syrian doctor who is coordinating the project has approached ACN for support to be able to keep running the milk program, which is essential for the Christian children in Aleppo.
“We distribute milk every month to about 2 850 children: 2 600 receive powdered milk and 250 receive special milk for infants. Babies, not breastfed by their mother, receive a special infant’s milk. The total number of beneficiaries varies every month depending on the number of births and emigration of the families” explains Dr. Nabil Antaki. The children are Christian of all denominations.
Georgina, a mother of three children, explains to ACN how important the project is for her and her family: “Myriam is ten years old; Pamela is six. We are one of the beneficiaries of “A Drop of Milk” project. Both Myriam and Pamela get one kilogram of milk powder every month. Pamela’s health was critical when she was hit by bomb shrapnel in her back, and now that she is recovering, she needs milk to become healthier and stronger. This project is very important for me and my family and I’d really like it to continue.”
The children of Aleppo, already deprived of a fulfilling and peaceful childhood, should not be deprived of milk needed for their growth and health. ACN has therefore assured Dr. Antaki of our help for the children of Aleppo.