The Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has sent over $50 million dollars in aid for food, rent, medical aid, and psychological support to thousands of Christian families in Syria since the start of its civil war.
What started out as a nonviolent protest, turned into a full-on civil war. One of the major causes of the war was the “Arab Spring” in early 2011 when a series of political and economic protests in Egypt and Tunisia broke out. These successful revolts served as an inspiration for pro-democracy activists in Syria. In March 2011, fifteen Syrian school children were arrested and tortured for writing graffiti that was inspired by the Arab Spring. One of the boys was killed.
Since 2020, the organization has provided families with resources like affordable bread. In recent years, the charity pledged over $1.3 million for projects in Syria as well.
“There are so many Syrians who went from supporting themselves to waiting in lines for help, and this has created a real sense of loss of dignity because many have become completely reliant on aid from our charity to survive,” said Edward Clancy, the director of outreach for ACN.
Clancy also noted the importance of making sure that the church in Syria is well are supported during the war.
“We have to make sure that Christians in Syria are supported. We don’t want the churches in Syria to become just a bunch of museums or empty buildings that are only open to people who are visitors simply because the Syrian residents stop finding hope in their churches,” Clancy stated.
Since the start of the war, an estimated five million Syrians have left the country, six million have been displaced, and thirteen million are in need of assistance. Clancy shared that ACN has provided about $35 million toward humanitarian aid (food, healthcare, and housing), just under $7 million to support education, and nearly $5.5 million for the reconstruction of homes, churches, schools, and community centers. More than $1 million has gone to general pastoral and community support as well.
Clancy has been working for ACN Charity for over 20 years and is passionate about helping people over the years.
“As Christians, we are called to live and express faith to others, and evangelization happens in the way you serve others,” Clancy said. “Jesus came to serve and not to be served. Jesus died serving, and I think it’s our duty to do as Jesus did by living to serve. There are so many people in Syria that are in desperate need right now, and they don’t want to flee their country because that is the home they know…There is a dire need.”