Summer Camp Brings Color to Children of War-Torn Aleppo

“With Jesus, I will bring color to my life.” This is the theme chosen by the Friars Minor of the Custody of the Holy Land in Aleppo, Syria, for the 2017 edition of the Summer Camp for Kids.

For two months, friars, religious women, and volunteers will work to bring color back to the lives of these children who, in these last years, have almost exclusively experienced the dark color of war.

As stated in the announcement of the initiative: “It is about renovating the individual, rebuilding the body, mind, spirit and the sense of belonging to the community.” In order to achieve this goal, the Franciscan Friars have organized numerous recreational activities : dance, sports, art projects and music, each of which has been entrusted to qualified professionals.

Fadhi Ibrahim, Physical Exercises Teacher, stated, “I am overjoyed by the invitation the Church extended to me to coordinate these children’s games and activities, especially after all these years of war, where the only sound was that of bombs and missiles. Now we only experience joy. I, too, hope to make my contribution so that these children can be happy. I will do my best.”

For these young volunteers, this is an opportunity to earn a living and to actively participate in the reconstruction of society and of the Church.

Ibrahim, a volunteer, said, “After completing my college education, I aspired to be part of the Church, to help and to be present in this Summer Camp: I truly enjoy being with these kids, staying close to the people and helping as much as possible, giving instead of staying home and doing nothing.”

During the day, the spiritual needs of children is of great importance. The Eucharistic celebration is the center of all activities. Songs, dances and games are marked by times of prayer to help kids understand how authentic faith can truly color their lives.

Mirna, a volunteer, shared, “This is my third time here at the Summer Camp. The first two years, the situation was really tough because of the conflict. Going out was life threatening. But I thank God because this year we have peace. I hope peace will continue and that we will finally be able to return to a normal life. God has always protected us. We have never experienced fear, even under the bombs.”

A hope for peace and serenity that, today, thanks to initiatives like this, is increasingly becoming a tangible reality.

Uomo, a young participant in the camp, expressed his gratitude, saying: “I would like to thank everyone for all the Summer Center has given us in these years of war and for filling our hearts with peace and love.”