Thursday 29 September 2016

Concert set to raise money to treat Syrian children suffering from psychological disorders

Published 29/11/2015 | 19:25

Displaced children at the Za'Atari Refugee Camp in Jordan close to the Syrian border. Photo: Mark Condren
Displaced children at the Za'Atari Refugee Camp in Jordan close to the Syrian border. Photo: Mark Condren

A charity concert in Dublin is set to raise money to treat millions of Syrian children suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders.

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An estimated 2.2 million children will require expert psychological assistance to overcome the mental trauma they have experienced since the Syrian conflict began in early 2011.

A massive 5.5 million children in Syria are believed to have been affected by the fighting and political unrest in total, while 12 million Syrians have been forced from their homes.

More than four million fled as refugees to neighbouring countries or Europe, while 7.6 million remain displaced in Syria.

A Rebel fighter stands guard at the exact location that snipers from the Syrian army had in Harem Castle, Northern Idlib Governate Syria
Photo: Mark Condren
5.4.2013
A Rebel fighter stands guard at the exact location that snipers from the Syrian army had in Harem Castle, Northern Idlib Governate Syria Photo: Mark Condren 5.4.2013

Psychological expert Ian O'Maonaigh said traumatic symptoms include depression, anxiety, fear, anger, aggression and self-destructive behaviour.

"Studies show that children affected by trauma by the war in Syria are more likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol, sexually promiscuous or enter prostitution as a means of coping with stress," said senior counselling psychologist Mr O'Maonaigh.

Displaced families in their shelter in Harem
Displaced families in their shelter in Harem

"Such traumatic experiences can often result in a tendency to act violently and with aggression."

Mr O'Maonaigh is now organising the Gala Fundraising Concert in aid of Médicines Sans Frontiérs, who are working with displaced families in Syria.

The concert will take place at the Christchurch Cathedral next Thursday, December 3 at 8pm.

Among those performing are the Humanitarian orchestra, the Fingal Youth Choir, Mezzo Soprano, Aisling Williams, Bass-Baritone, Kevin Neville, the Dublin Ballet Academy, Pine the Pilcrow and traditional Irish musicians.

The Lord Mayor is also expected to attend the concert.

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster or at the door on the night.

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