Families come together at one of the JRS centres in Damascus for "family mornings", where they enjoy each others' company whilst preparing a meal together. It is a way of providing some measure of psychosocial support to the whole family unit.
Beirut, 29 April 2013 – The opportunity to have a moment of peace and quiet has all but vanished in Damascus. As violence in the 4,000 year old capital escalates, accompanied by acute shortages of daily commodities, it becomes harder to enjoy the simple things in life, much less a family meal.  Conscious of this, the JRS Damascus team now holds “family mornings” twice a month at the JRS St Albert Hurtado House in Bab Touma. 

Fouad Nakhla SJ, the JRS Project Director in Damascus describes the family mornings as, “A chance to have more meaningful contact with the families and for them to have a place of tranquility for a few hours.” 

Between eight to ten displaced families whom JRS supports, are invited to spend a few hours together. The families are from a variety of different backgrounds, including Somali, Sudanese, Iraqi and Congolese families who are unable to leave Syria for one reason or another.The families have a chance to interact with one another in a quiet, safe space. Games are organised for the children by volunteers, and the families prepare and eat a simple meal together. 

“It is the breaking of bread together, which is an intrinsic part of our culture. Sharing a meal together is something that everyone can relate to and find solace in.” 

Nada, a volunteer who helps out at the family mornings, wrote a reflection about her experience. She was deeply affected by the families’ joy in spite of all they have suffered - the homes, memories, loved ones and hopes they have lost. 

“They are still together as a family, and have the will of life to help each other overcome these difficulties.In this house (St Albert Hurtado House) we live, for a moment, the image of what we dream the future could be in Syria”. 

In addition to the family mornings, JRS provides emergency relief, educational and psychosocial activities to over 1,000 displaced families in Damascus and the surrounding areas. 

Support the work of JRS in Syria here

Zerene Haddad, Middle East and North Africa Communications

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