Over 5,500 children from 24 schools throughout the Maltese islands have been taking part in a fundraising campaign to help some of the most deprived children in Syria get an education. A total of 24 schools - 8 schools from Gozo, 9 church schools, 5 state schools and 5 private schools in Malta –participated in this initiative organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) Malta.
The destruction of hundreds of schools in many Syrian towns has forced the regrouping of pupils in remaining schools, so classes intended for 28 pupils now often house 50-60 children of mixed abilities. Overcrowded classrooms and lack of resources have taken their toll on Syrian children’s education. Many of them are far below the normal level of achievement for their age. They had to miss months or even years of schooling because it was far too dangerous to leave their homes. As a result, they have fallen behind and are finding it difficult to cope with lessons.
Moved by the plight of children in Syria whose education was disrupted because of the war which is now in its eight year, thousands of Maltese children are doing what they can to help. Since the beginning of Lent, many have chosen to give up sweets and other treats and instead donate the money to help Syrian children. Together, these small donations from pocket money have raised over 8000 euros that are going towards education projects in Syria for children who have been worst affected by the war.
Enough money has already been raised to fund 195 scholarships for children from the poorest families whose parents could not otherwise afford to send them to school. ACN Malta’s fundraising campaign is also providing 20 weeks of individual homeschooling for a number of children in parts of Damascus that were worst affected by recent bombing.
ACN Malta thanked all the children who took part and also Heads of School, teachers, administrators and parents who have worked so hard to promote the campaign and organise the collection of donations for Syrian children in their schools. A special thanks is also due to Fr Effie Masini (Gozo bishop’s delegate), Fr Reuben Gauci (responsible for spiritual development in State and Church schools), Mr Joe Farrugia (the Archbishop’s delegate for the laity) and Mr Lawrence Aquilina.
The conclusion of this major fund-raising initiative to help Syrian schoolchildren coincides with ACN Malta’s celebration of the 4th anniversary since the Malta office was opened in May 2014. Cardinal Piacenza, International President of ACN, has sent a personal message to congratulate ACN Malta on their achievements in the last 4 years. To celebrate the 4th anniversary, ACN Malta is holding a thanksgiving Mass this Sunday at 9am in Good Shepherd church in Balzan, celebrated by Mgr Prof Hector Scerri, ACN Malta’s Ecclesiastical Assistant.