Syria’s children and the mental scars of conflict: ‘I only do sad drawings now’

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syria-children-art

The physical trauma of the Syrian conflict will forever be etched in our minds: images of entire towns razed to the ground; people with life-changing scars; the millions forced to flee across borders in search of sanctuary. Yet the psychological trauma of war – particularly for the millions of children caught up in the conflict – is harder to see.

Recognising this, the British Red Cross has been working with our partners, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to make sure children and adults receive emotional and psychological support.

Hiba runs a Red Crescent community centre in Dweila, in rural Damascus. It hosts a psychosocial programme that simply offers children a chance to do normal childhood things and to express themselves through art.

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Beating loneliness: “I finally felt like I was getting to grips with things”

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Philip Mead standing in his garden

Things went from bad to worse for Philip Mead after his wife Val passed away. He missed her greatly and began having flashbacks of her death. Then he was involved in an accident that wrote off his car, leaving him completely isolated. But with a little help from the British Red Cross, Phil started to build up his life again.

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International Women’s Day: “Seeking asylum is not a choice… it’s a necessity”

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©BritishRedCross/SimonRawles

©BritishRedCross/SimonRawles

People who come to the UK seeking sanctuary from war, oppression and persecution often arrive with visions of peace and safety.

Sadly, many find themselves facing a punishing, hand-to-mouth existence as they try to navigate a demanding asylum system.

For women, that process can be even tougher. More

Overcome the bystander effect

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A woman approaches a man sat down in the street to see if he is ok

Have you ever seen someone who looked unconscious on the side of the road but walked on by? Or ignored a person who’s fallen over? Maybe when you got home you thought, ‘I really should have done something’. This is the “bystander effect”. But don’t despair: by reading this you’re on track to never walk on by again.

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A defibrillator can save a life – if people feel confident

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Sharon leans on a fence at the pig-breeding farm where she works. She gave chest compressions to a customer, helping to save their life.

Sharon gave chest compressions to a customer, helping to save their life.

If a person is unresponsive and not breathing they are in cardiac arrest. This means their heart has stopped pumping blood around their body. If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is used within three to five minutes of them collapsing, it can produce survival rates as high as 50-70 per cent.

There is no denying the life-saving power of an AED – but behind it is the life-saving power of people.
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Somalia: one family’s fight to survive a severe drought

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© ICRC/Pedram Yazdi

“I am 75 years old. I have not heard of or seen such a severe drought,” said Abdi.

Abdi’s family are among many others taking refuge in temporary shelters surrounding the village of Tukaraq, in northern Somalia.

They travelled here by foot, some 150 kilometres from their home.

Like many other drought-affected families across Somalia, their situation is getting desperate.

Please donate to our East Africa Crisis Appeal.

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Millions going hungry in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen: how you can help

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A woman in South Sudan holds a huge bag of Red Cross food on her head as two other people stand near her

Red Cross rations are helping to keep people alive in South Sudan – © Alyona Synenko/ICRC

You may have seen the news reports of famine in Africa and the Middle East recently.

Millions of people in four countries are facing relentless, crushing hunger.

Most have not had enough food for months or even years.

Parents are watching their children go hungry.

Here’s how you can help.

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