Help our local partners realise their vision of hope for their communities
Continuing our theme of highlighting the ingenuity and perseverance of our partners in extremely challenging situations, and the ways in which they bring solutions, life and hope to their situations, we celebrate the work of our partner in Syria, the St. Ephrem Development Committee (EPDC).
EPDC is the development branch of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Syria. It focusses on development and relief for those in most need and runs health, education, humanitarian relief, vocational training and development programmes throughout Syria.
The project HART supports is located in the village of Maaoula, a place of pilgrimage since the 3rd century, and one of the few places in the world where Aramaic is still spoken.
The Syrian conflict deeply impacted Maaloula, which was occupied for several months in 2013 by Islamist militants, who destroyed many homes and desecrated and badly damaged the churches. Most of the town’s residents fled, but many have now returned and are trying to rebuild their lives. The multiple physical, social and psychological impacts of the war have been compounded by the Covid-19 epidemic and the imposition of international sanctions which have hugely increased prices, created shortages of fuel, food, medicines and basic supplies, impacted employment opportunities, and affected households’ coping mechanisms.
In addition to these challenges, many men from Maaloula either fled the country, disappeared or died in the crisis leaving their families un-helped. Consequently, women have taken the role of income providers for their families and children.
In April 2018, HART began the partnership with EPDC to help empower these women to combat food security in their communities. Initially creating 20 jobs, this project enabled the women to:
• Prepare and conserve excess seasonal food for the winter months for approximately 550 of the most vulnerable families in the community including their own.
• Support returnee families through the distribution of food and winterization kits.
• Support the food processing workshop in Maaloula and ensure the sustainability of its work.
• Support the quilt workshop which supports Syrian displaced families.
As a result of this, over 550 families have benefited from food and winterisation kits distributed in Maaloula, and over 1100 quilts have been prepared in the workshop by women of displaced families from different Syrian locations.
The impact of the project has been significant and multifaceted. Helping families most in need in the region by distributing quilts and food kits has helped improved their livelihood and their food security. In addition, the winterization kits enabled them to overcome the severe cold weather as there was a shortage in the sources of heating and electricity. The savings made by not having to spend money on the items provided enabled the families to purchase other needs. The positive impact extended to the workers of the quilt and food processing workshops, since these orders secured their salaries, expenses, and the sustainability of their projects for several months.
Throughout Syria, millions of people face extreme hardship both because of the conflict and because of sanctions imposed on the country. HART is proud to be able to provide some relief and hope in these circumstances, and we give thanks for the wonderful resilience, dedication and perseverance of the many ordinary Syrian people who are a beacon of light and hope in desperate situations.
To support HART’s partners in Syria, click the banner below or follow this link and quote “Syria”: https://www.hart-uk.org/donate/