2024-02-09 GENERAL HOUSE

Aleppo Earthquake: One Year Later

On February 6, 2024, the Secretariat of Solidarity and FMSI organized an event titled “Aleppo Earthquake: One Year Later.” The event aimed to shed light on the current challenges faced by the Blue Marists community in supporting the children and families of Aleppo after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey.

The goal was to maintain global awareness of Aleppo’s ongoing challenges and renew support for the Marist Blue community’s post-earthquake efforts. Guest of honor was Bahjat Azrie, a Blue Marist and coordinator of the SEEDS program in Aleppo, sharing insights from the Champagnat Hall at the General House.

The General Council, Brothers and Collaborators of the General Administration and other guest took part in the event. At the same time, more than 120 participants joined online, from 37 countries , including Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tanzania, Uruguay, USA, Venezuela, Vietnam.

Br. Ernesto Sánchez Barba, the Superior General of the Marist Brothers, opened the event. Bahjat Azrie, a Blue Marist and coordinator of the SEEDS program in Aleppo, provided insights into the current challenges.

Fr. Ángel Diego García Otaola, Director of the Marist Brothers’ Secretariat of Solidarity, concluded the event with a prayer.

Participants had the opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the situation in Aleppo over the past year.

Fr. Ernesto Sanchez B., Superior General, expressed gratitude for the global solidarity and support extended to Aleppo, acknowledging the collaborative efforts of Marist communities worldwide. Br. Ernesto also expressed some words of condolences for the loss of Margo, the older Marist Volunteer who died at the age of 92.

Bahjat Azrie shared reflections on the earthquake’s impact, emphasizing the psychological and emotional aftermath on the people of Aleppo. In his presentation Ali, a 12-year-old boy from Aleppo, described his experience during the earthquake, highlighting feelings of shock and the transformation of familiar places into sources of fear. The presentation covered the themes of “Blockage,” “Street,” and “Cracks,” symbolizing psychological reactions, communal support, and the internal vulnerabilities exposed by the earthquake.

Br. Angel Diego, Director of the Secretariat of Solidarity, shared a transcription from the “Prayer Br. George Sabe” from the Blu Marists of Aleppo and ask the people to observe 1 minute of silence.

The Blue Marist community emphasized the need for continuous and sustainable solidarity, not only in material support but also in moral, human, and Marist values.

The event highlighted ongoing projects in Aleppo, addressing the immediate needs of the affected population, including food distribution, psychological support, and resilience training.

In conclusion, the “Aleppo Earthquake: One Year Later” event served as a platform to reflect, share experiences, and renew the commitment of the Marist Global Family to support the ongoing recovery and resilience efforts in Aleppo.



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