Tremendous Manx generosity to Syrian children

Monday 12th June 2017 3:25 am
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Baraa Ehssan Kouja, from the From Syria With Love exhibition

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Donations made by the Manx public have been praised by a visiting war refugee charity.

During April this year, the travelling exhibition ’From Syria With Love’ came to the island for two weeks.

Thanks to events held and through the sale of artwork, the charity said that they received a total of £2,693.07, which far exceeds any other total raised from similar exhibitions across the UK.

Trish Oliver, who helps to run the charity alongside its founder Baraa Ehssan Kouja, himself a Syrian refugee, living in England, said that the response from the Manx public was genuinely touching.

’We really are delighted with the reaction we received on the Isle of Man,’ said Trish.

’This is the highest total we have ever taken as a charity. The hospitality and the welcome given to us by the Manx people was wonderful.

’I like to think that a lot of people understand the situation around Syria and the Lebanon a bit better now.’

The charity displays pieces of artwork drawn by children who have been displaced by the Syrian civil war, and who currently live in refugee camps and displacement points in Lebanon and the Turkish/Syrian border.

Often just with simple children’s paintings, the artwork displays a chilling and heartbreaking insight to the lives led by these children, some as young as six years old, before they fled the war zone to find safety.

The pictures were displayed over two weeks at Noa Bakehouse in Douglas and there was also a second exhibition at Ballakermeen High School. Baraa also gave a weekend of lectures on the situation facing the children and a charity concert featuring Manx groups the Ballaghs and the Mollag Band also raised money.

All the pictures displayed were sold and many more additional prints were ordered. More than 90 exhibition books were sold with stories form the featured children, along with 30 CDs.

The ’From Syria With Love’ Facebook page breaks down how the money was spent, from $187,5 for 250kg of sugar to $25 spent on transportation.

Dates, tomato juice, biscuits, tea, halva, canned meat and cheese are all listed, along with a list of what educational needs were provided for.

’The difference this money raised has already made is phenomenal,’ said Trish. ’Children who were hungry have now been given food, and those who were going without education are now going to school, directly thanks to the money raised on the Isle of Man.

’For example, $300 was enough to pay the salaries of three teachers. When people think that they can only give ten or £20, that money can go an awfully long way.

’It was a great response. It shows that the Manx people really do care about their fellow human beings.

’It is a myth that the Manx people are insular. When it comes to helping charities, most people just need to know where the money is going and if it will be used properly.

’This response we received from the Manx people really helps us keep going in these difficult times.’

More information on the charity can be found on fromsyriawithlove.org

Baraa Ehssan Kouja at one of the exhibitions in the Isle of Man

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