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Christian charity counselling thousands of Syrian child refugees

The Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf) and Caritas Lebanon have come together to help Syrian children deal with the horrors that they have seen during the ongoing Syrian War.

Psychologist Lina Zaarour, who runs one-to-one counselling sessions at the Caritas centre in the Bekaa Valley region in Lebanon said: "There is not one family that escaped the death of a relative, and all of the children have experienced violent scenes."

The sessions are in high demand; 1.5 million Syrians are now living in Lebanon, including hundreds of thousands of children.

Children are referred to the counselling service by case workers at medical centres. At present, 200 people a month attend sessions.

As well as one-to-one sessions, the centre provides art therapy.


Rania Bteich, director of the centre, said that psychological damage manifests itself physically through speech issues, isolation and bed-wetting among many of the children they speak with.

"It can be because of what they have seen in the war, and it can also be due to difficulties adapting to their current living situation as refugees," she said.

Sciaf has launched an emergency Christmas appeal in order to aid the ongoing work in Lebanon.

Sciaf director Alistair Dutton said: "Hundreds of thousands are haunted and deeply traumatised by vivid memories of the horrific things they've seen.

"Everything they saw and went through has left a whole generation emotionally scarred for life."

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