As per November 1, 2020
Unfortunately, the Corona pandemic has not spared Syria. After the long years of war, the health system is in a deplorable condition, many hospitals have been destroyed or damaged, and there is a lack of doctors, nursing staff, devices and medicines. Inflation, unemployment and poverty are wearing down those who have remained in Syria, most of them because they did not have the financial means to flee, but some because they did not have the heart to abandon the poorest in society.
The foundation “Korbgemeinschaft” has continuously adjusted its 2020 projects to the changing needs and developments. Instead of renovating kindergartens and schools and organizing the longed-for summer camps for children and adolescents, the help most urgently required at the moment is the provision of emergency packages to fight hunger and to provide essential medicines.
The fact that the “Bakery of Grace” in Maaruneh is now in operation to fight hunger day by day is an act of Divine providence and grace.
- Organizing emergency aid packages for the poorest families (food and other everyday items, medicines)
- Emergency aid packages for families with babies and small children (containing additional baby products)
- Emergency support for rental costs (many people no longer have any income due to the Corona pandemic and are faced by homelessness; at the same time, those who rent out part of their small apartments are desperately dependent on this modest rental income)
- Purchase of New Testaments for First Communion children. In the spring of 2020, the First Communion ceremonies were suspended. However, it was later decided to conduct First Communions in the fall so that there won’t be too many First Communion children at once in 2021.
- Basic school material for 1,000 children of very poor families in Damascus and environment and in Hauran
- Thanks to a special government permit, we were able to continue the building work for the Regional Bakery despite the Corona pandemic. At the end of June, the shell construction was finished and the rooms envisaged for bread production were ready for the installation of the bakery machines.
The letters and appeals for donations and the applications for funding the bakery machines were successfully continued by the foundation in “home office” mode. At the beginning of July, the funds sufficed to pay the machines and equipment. Right after payment, they were transported from Lebanon to Syria on two huge trucks.
Immediately thereafter, crossing the Lebanese-Syrian border became even more difficult due to severe Corona containment measures. The Lebanese engineering specialist, who had intended to personally supervise the installation of the machines and the test run of the production line, decided to monitor the technical coordination from Lebanon, via an Internet connection.
On August 4th, the first flatbreads left the conveyor belt in a successful trial run of the production line. This was the starting point for submitting the applications for state-subsidized flour and energy.
Production started on September 11, 2020. For the time being, the production quantity is limited (suitable, well qualified staff needs to be trained). The production quantity will gradually be increased. Work uniforms were sewn for the staff members.
- Further project plans using the bakery building:
- Addition of a building floor to accommodate a social market
Basic foods and other urgent items of daily life will be purchased at wholesale prices and sold to the poor at cost price without a profit margin
- The addition of yet another building floor is planned for a soup kitchen, as many people are without any income and thus exposed to hunger.
- On June 24, September 10 and September 14, four large containers filled with humanitarian goods were dispatched to Syria: one from Augsburg, including a high-voltage transformer for the bakery that was donated by the Bavarian city of Waldkirchen, the other two containers were sent from Vienna.
In addition to clothing, shoes and blankets, the containers also included baby carriages, small furniture, nursing devices, sanitary articles, walking aids and similar items. The collections of humanitarian goods, second-hand medical equipment, nursing beds, etc. are of course being continued. For further details, please refer to the menu item “humanitarian goods”.
- As soon as the Corona restrictions allow to do so, the following projects will also be resumed or continued:
- Coordination with „Apotheker helfen“(an initiative of Austrian
pharmacists) to support two health centres in Damascus
- Support for a special needs school for mentally handicapped children in Damascus
- Support for kindergartens and schools (renovation work and supplements to the low salaries of pedagogues)
- mediation of Mass Intentions
- Support of priests and their social and pastoral tasks
- Support for scout groups (uniforms and musical instruments)
- Collecting and shipping second-hand kindergarten and school furniture and equipment
- Mediating second-hand agricultural machines