Maher’s life changed when he started working in computer maintenance after he learned the principles of this profession in the First Step Center in Bloudan, affiliated to St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC).

Maher, a student of College of Arabic Literature, says that his enrollment in the computer maintenance course enabled him to learn the profession he loves, and became a productive individual able to secure his expenses and reduce the financial burden on his family, in addition to entering the job market and getting to know his colleagues in this profession, exchanging knowledge and increasing experiences.

He was able to solve the toughest computer problems, and he has clients. Maher encouraged his friends to join the vocational training courses at the First Step Center and benefit from coaches’ expertise and competencies.

Muhannad’s success story – First Step Center – Bloudan

With a smile, Muhannad (18 years old) told the story of his work as a barber that he attained after learning the main principles until reaching professionalism and mastered it with skill. Muhannad suffers from deafness after suffering an ear infection when he was 6 years old and he lost his sense of hearing, but he can read easy movement of lips.

Muhannad used to work with his father in plumbing. When he knew about the vocational training courses by St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) at the First Step Center in the town of Bloudan in Rural Damascus and about the efficiency of these courses with the help of professional trainers, and good treatment of the working team.

Today, Muhannad has become a productive individual and is able to support himself after he converted a room in his house to a men’s barbershop, and he had customers that he constantly visited due to his success in mastering the profession he loves.

“Not only did I learn men hairdressing profession, I also learned the joy of giving with love.”

New hope for Emil family

“In the past, we were able to secure all the needs for our family, including food, medicine and clothes … But our conditions have changed a lot since the beginning of the crisis, and it is now more difficult to secure the simplest and most basic things.”

This is what Emile’s wife said, one of the families that received many and varied assistance from St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC). She told EPDC that her husband Emil sells sweets in a modest place, and that her brother lives with her in the same house because his house in Ein Tarma was destroyed because of the crisis. After he had an apoplexy, he needed constant medical care and many medications. Also, her sister lives with her after the death of her husband and her displacement from her home in the town in Maaloula, Rural Damascus. During the crisis she had asthma and was unable to permanently secure the expensive medicine.

Emile’s wife continues: “St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) did not leave us alone in our ordeal. They helped us with everything after we lost hope. They gave us a rent allowance for our house in which the 3 families live, in addition to financial, food, and medical assistance. EPDC gave us hope and determination to rise again. “

“I receive my treatment as if I were at home”

“I receive my treatment as if I were at home”

Tuesday and Saturday are the weekly appointment for Abu Youssef, 68 years old man, at the Patriarch Zakka Ewas I clinic for treating renal diseases in Dweilaa, where he receive two dialysis sessions that last for 4 hours.

Abu Youssef, a resident of Bab Touma neighborhood, discovered his illness a year and half ago, when he suffered from excruciating pain, and visited a specialized doctors who diagnosed him with kidney failure and his need for dialysis on a weekly basis.

He began to visit several private and public hospitals until he heard about EPDC Dialysis Center and the free medical services it provides to the beneficiaries. This center is one of the projects of the health care program of St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC).

Abu Youssef started visiting her a year and four months ago to received weekly life-saving dialysis sessions. He spoke about the competence of the medical staff in the clinic and the good reception, services, hygiene and sterilization, especially during the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the center secures important medicines for dialysis patients free of charge.


When Yara was born, she looked normal, but she was as that at all. She lived in hospitals for the first 4 months of her life, until finally the problem was discovered. She had a metabolism disorder, which means she cannot process any protein such as milk, eggs and meat and she has to follow a special diet. This disorder meant she was on a constant danger of getting a setback at any time. She got better later, but her mental age was never as the actual one, metaphorically, she grows up a year every two years.

A year ago, she had a huge setback which resulted in mental paralysis, kidney failure and brain shrinkage. St. Ephrem Patriarchal Development Committee (EPDC) decided to help the little girl and assist her physiotherapy with a standing table, to support her body while standing, and it is a constant help for her along with the physiotherapy, in addition it helps her eating and playing.

Her legs need support because she got a decline in her foot, too. It also helps cramps she usually gets because of the brain paralysis, which lead to form cramps in some places of her body.

“I would like to thank EPDC for helping us getting this special table… God bless you.. Thanks a lot.” The mother of the girl said.