John Paul II Foundation / Magazine / Children and women, the first victims

Children and women, the first victims


The project for children and girls that the John Paul II Foundation has been carrying out since 2019 in Aleppo together with the Franciscans is about helping them overcome the traumas of war and is called "therapeutic art." Thanks to the efforts of the religious of the Custody of the Holy Land, paths have been identified to help children, women, and those who carry within themselves the anguish of the very long conflict. The proposed training for psychologists is situated in the perspective of protecting children, as a group, along with women, most vulnerable in crisis and emergency situations. In such cases, in fact, systems of social belonging such as family, school, community, are strongly challenged in their ability to represent a safe place, often becoming, in response to the stress experienced, a place of physical, psychological, emotional violence, labor and sexual exploitation.

Thus, it becomes important to work to recreate in children's living environment a normalcy and a safe place where they can resume the experiences typical of their age, becoming again active protagonists of their lives. It becomes crucial to support and strengthen individual and social protective factors to prevent violence and abuse in its various forms. The project, in the Convent of St. Dominic in Aleppo, began as soon as the city was liberated, December 2018, and continues thanks to the work of dozens of Aleppo volunteers who put their professional skills at the service of the children: from music to painting, from theater to dance, from sports to individual paths of recovery. The young people of Aleppo are good, specialized and very eager to help the little ones at this difficult time in their lives. A child who is now ten/twelve years old has lived with trauma for his first eight years. The work is enormous, the children number in the tens of thousands, the lonely and struggling women are not counted.

In Aleppo, only girls and single women are left after the war. There are very few men. There is also another project, also in Aleppo, called "a name and a future" for children orphaned by their parents. The contribution that each of us can donate will NOT be used to build or rebuild convents and facilities, but to help rebuild the little ones and women, who with the war, have lost everything.

How can I contribute? In many ways: by going to the website of the John Paul II Foundation where all the projects on Syria are described and making a donation; by staying in touch with the John Paul II Foundation for more news and information; by inquiring directly with the Custody of the Holy Land.

Renato Burigana


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