By Olivier Labesse

According to the "Report on Religious Freedom in the World", published by the Catholic Charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Mali descended into chaos in March 2013 following a military coup. As islamist jihadis and rebel groups threatened to overrun the whole country, France the colonial power up to 1960, intervened militarily. In 2015 the Malian government signed a peace agreement in Bumako with a section of the armed rebel groups. While the south is considered relatively secure, the situation in the north is tense.  

The funds helped finance 5,303 projects in 148 countries. 

By Josue Villalón

At the end of December 2016 the forces allied to President Bashar al Assad took definitive control of the city of Aleppo. Just six months have passed since the bombings ceased in this great northern city of Syria, the largest city in the country and its principal industrial centre which once numbered over 2 million inhabitants. “Now there are no more bombings and the streets are safe”, comments Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, who is also president of Caritas Syria. He was speaking to the delegation from the Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) which was visiting the city. “However, unfortunately the situation is not going to change greatly. The war will continue. It appears that Syria will remain divided, as has happened in Iraq.”

By Josue Villalón

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has approved over $330,000 for the project “A Drop of Milk”. Through this project, milk is passed out to 2,850 children in Aleppo each month. A small delegation from ACN was recently there when the milk was distributed to families. The participants talk about how thankful the people are.

By Maria Lozano

Thanks to the support of the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), thousands of children and young people from crisis-torn regions such as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Israel are able to take part in summer camps and summer courses this year. ACN has already supported some of these courses in the past, and indeed this is almost a tradition now for Christian young people in the Holy Land, Jordan, Palestine and Israel. But additionally this year the charity is delighted to be able to support youth camps in Aleppo, Syria, and Alqosh in Iraq, where life is slowly returning to normal now that the fighting and violence have died down in these war-torn areas. The local Christian Churches are working hard not only to rebuild the physical structures in these areas but also to revive the spirit and the souls of the people here, above all among the children and young people who have suffered so much. In Iraq for example, the summer camps are intended above all to help these young people to overcome the trauma of the occupation by ISIS of their Christian towns and villages in the Niniveh Plains. They need to be able to regain their physical and spiritual strength, especially now, when the future of their Christian communities in Iraq is at stake.

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