On February 6, 2024, over 130 attendees from 37 countries participated online at the event “Earthquake in Aleppo: One Year Later” held by the Marist Foundation for International Solidarity ETS (FMSI), in collaboration with the Solidarity Secretariat of the Marist Brothers Institute, marking one year since the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Syria and Turkey. The purpose was to remember the current challenges faced by the Blue Marist community in supporting the children and families of Aleppo and to renew support for the community’s efforts in the post-earthquake period. 

Br. Ernesto Sanchez B. – the Superior General of the Marist Brothers – opened the event expressing gratitude for global solidarity and the support extended to Aleppo. He acknowledged the collaborative efforts of Marist communities worldwide and offered condolences for the loss of Margot, the oldest Marist volunteer who passed away at the age of 92. 

Bahjat Azrie  a Blue Marist and the coordinator of the SEEDS program in Aleppo  shared reflections on the earthquake’s impact, emphasizing the psychological and emotional consequences on Aleppo’s population. During his presentation, Ali, a 12-year-old from Aleppo, described his experience during the earthquake, highlighting feelings of shock and the transformation of familiar places into sources of fear. The presentation addressed topics such as the psychological reactions of the younger ones, community support, and the internal vulnerabilities exposed by the earthquake.

Br. Angel Diego  the Director of the Solidarity Secretariat  shared a transcription of the “Brother George Sabe Prayer” from the Blue Marists of Aleppo and asked participants to observe a minute of silence. 

The Blue Marist community emphasized the need for ongoing and sustainable solidarity, not only in terms of material support but also in moral, human, and values-based aspects. 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 for reflection, sharing experiences, and renewing the commitment of the Global Marist Family to support ongoing recovery and resilience efforts in Aleppo. 

The event saw online participation from over 130 attendees from 37 countries: Ecuador, Madagascar, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Chad, Tanzania, USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Greece, Ireland, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Haiti, Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, India, Syria, Bangladesh, Lebanon, the Philippines, Vietnam, Fiji, Australia. 

Following the event, a photographic exhibition was presented in the corridor of the Superior Generals.