SYRIA: Sister plays Santa giving thousands of deprived children winter coats

Sister Annie Demerjian giving Christmas gifts in Syria in 2021.
Sister Annie Demerjian giving Christmas gifts in Syria in 2021.

This Christmas, a religious sister in Syria will be distributing warm clothes to tens of thousands of vulnerable children whose families cannot afford basic necessities.

Sister Annie Demerjian of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary is working with Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) to give impoverished Syrian Christians winter clothing, as part of its Christmas Gifts of Faith initiative.

She wrote in a message to ACN: “Has buying clothes become a luxury for Syrians?

“The people we meet tell us that getting a new item of clothing has become a dream.”

She quoted a family who had told her: “Even with extra work, we can’t afford even a small portion of the basic necessities for the house, so how can we meet our children’s demands to buy clothes with such high prices?”

Sister Annie is set to give 27,590 warm coats to children whose parents are unable to buy them anoraks at a time when temperatures can plunge below freezing point.

Syria’s economy has continued to deteriorate throughout 2023, with some families living on £11 (185,940 Syrian pounds) per month.

Many Christian families are struggling to buy basic food items such as meat and vegetables.

For those struggling to survive on a monthly salary of £11, two months’ wages would be needed just to buy a pair of trousers, a shirt and a pair of shoes.

The project, led by Sister Annie and supported by ACN, will enable parents to give their children new clothes for Christmas, while also creating job opportunities for local workshops which are making the clothes for the project.

Warm clothing will be given to 10,460 children between ages 6-10, 8,330 between 12-16 and 8,800 teenagers over 16.

Other ACN Christmas Gifts of Faith include sponsorship for Christian university students in Iraq, school fees for Christian children in Pakistan, trauma counselling for terror attack survivors in Nigeria, emergency aid for displaced people in Ukraine and meals for suffering Christian families in Syria, Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of Congo.