Art Therapy a Respite for Children In War Torn Syria

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Crayons and water paints cover tables at an art therapy workshop for Syrian children traumatized by nearly five years of war. Their calm and cheerful voices belie the hardship that they and their families face each day. Among them is Moussa, 9. The young boy was with his father when the car they were riding in was hit by a missile near the Syrian village of Mhardeh. His father died instantly. Moussa escaped with only minor injuries, but suffered major emotional trauma. Moussa and his mother, Faten, are among the many residents of the predominantly Christian village who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder due to repeated attacks in the area.

IOCC and Syria partner, Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD), the humanitarian arm of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, are providing crisis counseling workshops to Syrian people traumatized by war. The psychological support they receive helps families in need learn how to deal with loss and change their perspective about the future. For the adults, that means guided group discussions, while children find their voice through art and music activities.

Moussa and Faten hadn’t left their house since the day of the deadly attack. They ventured out for the first time to attend the crisis counseling workshop and have been feeling better since, for which Faten and her daughter, Maya, 15, are very grateful. “From heaven, my father asked God to send this to us so my little brother could leave the house once again,” said his sister.

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