Syria: A well for the old people's home run by the Vincentian Sisters "Our survival is at stake"

Project Code: 330-05-59

It was 1860 when the Society of St. Vincent de Paul was first established in Lebanon, and since 1898 the Vincentian Sisters have also been active in Syria, in the city of Aleppo. But never in their history have they faced so many difficulties or had to endure such catastrophic circumstances as they do now.

Sister Ella Bitar has written to us from Lebanon on behalf of her fellow Sisters in Syria, who are still largely cut off from the rest of the world: "The survival and the continued existence of the Saint Mansour Charity Association (as the Society of St. Vincent De Paul is known here, for legal reasons) is at stake." And with it, the fate of the 31 residents and the 10 staff of the old people's home in Aleppo. Support this Project

Once they were happy and contented in their large house in the center of the Old City of Aleppo, where they had everything they needed–three meals a day and the loving nursing and medical care of the Sisters. They had the opportunity to attend Holy Mass in the house and were able to sit out on the roof and relax in the open air–until the snipers appeared, that is. Fortunately, the only damage so far has been to the house itself, and none of the residents or staff of the home has come to any harm.

Another immense problem they now face, on account of the embargo, is to secure the necessary provisions. Prior to the war, 150 – 300 Syrian pounds (or close to seven US dollars) a day was enough to feed and care for each of the residents. But today it costs 2,500 – 3,500 ($20 or so). There are only a few streets in the city where food can be brought in, since for a long time it was fully under the control of terrorists. Only recently has the army liberated these streets again and made them accessible. Most of the time the home has to use its own generator, since the electricity supply has become unreliable. At the same time, fuel prices have soared, even while fuel and oil remain vital for heating in winter and for running the generator.

Worst of all is the water situation. In May the water supply was cut off completely for 12 days. They had to survive by buying bottled water, at extra effort, expense and worry. Now the Vincentian Sisters want to drill their own well, so that they can be independent of the public water supply. It will require a borehole of 100 – 150 m in depth (300 to 450 feet) and the cost will be from $17-$23 per meter. "It is simply impossible to predict this more accurately in these uncertain times," writes Sister Ella realistically. And no help can be expected from anywhere in the region. "Our sources of income are dwindling. The wealthier people have already left Aleppo, and indeed the country altogether."

We would like to help the Sisters and relieve them of this worry. They still need $3,100. Will you help these Sisters drill their own well as they struggle for survival in Syria?



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