Image: Two boys taking stuff from destroyed street in Aleppo
“I can tell you…not a family in Aleppo can live and continue to feed and raise their children without help,” says Samer in a city in northern Syria. His family is one of more than 17,000 families who are supported with food by Open Doors through a local church each month.
Before the war, Samer lived in a village in the countryside between Aleppo and Idlib. There he was employee of a gas station. “The militants surrounded our village; we did not feel safe. I have two daughters and I was afraid for them. We heard many things about the militants, how they entered the villages, how they raped and killed.” They fled to Aleppo as the war had not yet reached that city. They were able to live there a short period in peace until the war reached Aleppo. “We lived a hard time when gunmen surrounded the neighborhood and then laid siege to all of Aleppo.”
Since the city is fully under control of the Syrian government, the security situation has improved a lot. “I work at a gas station now. I don’t receive a high salary, about 60 US dollar a month, and half of it goes to the rent of the place we live.”
“I try to do my best, but prices are increasing. I feel as if my hands are cut, they are powerless to do anything. I can tell you…not a family in Aleppo can live and continue to feed and raise their children without help. So for me, the food supply I receive helps us to continue living here. I want to thank you personally. Thank you. I know that the continued assistance you provide gives us hope to continue our lives with our families in our dear country.”
Another woman depending on medical help is Vartoha. She is a retired teacher who lives with her sister in their family home in Aleppo. The younger sister is looking after her as she suffers from renal failure and needs a large quantity of medicine each month and frequent blood analysis to monitor her health. With the small income of the sister, they cannot meet all their needs. “We are not used to asking others for help, but this situation forced us to do so. Thank you for your help and care, you have supported me with the medication I need. You took away a big burden from our shoulders. Your contribution carried a bit of the pain I feel.”
“The people need help dramatically”
Samer and Vartoha are two of about 17,000 families Open Doors supports through local churches or local partners in Syria each month. The help given differs per family and per location. Some only get food and hygiene packages, where others receive rent subsidies or medicine and medical help, even pastoral care and child care. The areas we are covering in Syria are more than a dozen including Aleppo and Damascus.
A priest says: “The people need help dramatically. The people are very tired, some are even in despair. With this help we give them strength to continue. With your support and assistance we try to help them as much as we can. Thank you for everything you are doing for these people.