A heartbreaking photo of a Syrian child went viral. Here are 3 things we can do about it.

We can't unsee that photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh. But now, we have a choice: We can turn away, or we can do something about it.

By now you've probably seen that startling photo of 5-year-old Omran Daqneesh from Aleppo, Syria.

Plenty of other powerful and arresting moments have been caught on camera since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. But none of them have managed to send shockwaves around the world quite like this photo, taken by Mahmoud Raslan: a child dressed in dust and soot and a "CatDog" T-shirt, propped up in a bright orange ambulance seat that pops in sharp contrast to his ashen, gray appearance. He's young enough that he could even share a birthday with the raging conflict that still consumes his country — and judging by the blank expression on his bloodied, battered face, he may have lived his entire life in a war zone, too.

It's certainly an arresting image, and it's easy to understand why so many people have responded to it.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about it is that Daqneesh and his family all survived the hospital airstrike that led to the moment the photograph was taken. Between the Assad regime and ISIS, nearly 500,000 other Syrians haven't been as lucky.


Photo by Zein Al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images.

Over 18,000 of those casualties — including nearly 5,000 children — have come out of Aleppo, the city where Daqneesh and his family live. Military airstrikes from Russia and the Syrian government have targeted medical facilities in Aleppo held by rebels and humanitarian aid groups, in a blatant violation of Geneva Convention rules.

As a result, 95% of the doctors in the area have already fled the country, leaving only a handful of trained professionals to care for the 600 new urgent-care cases that happen every day in two hospitals. In fact, one of the very first casualties of the war was a cardiologist who was attending to injured protesters during the Arab Spring.

"By making it impossible for people to seek treatment when they were injured — even civilians and children and women who had nothing to do with the anti-government uprising but happened to live in areas that were under the control of opposition groups — they were being collectively punished," Ben Traub of the New Yorker explained in an interview with NPR.

Photo by Karam Al-Masri/AFP/Getty Images

We can't un-see that photo of Daqneesh. But now, we have a choice: We can turn away, or we can do something about it.

And if you're one to pick the latter option, here are three ways to start.

1. Donate to the doctors on the ground who continue bringing aid despite the threat of monstrous attacks.

As Traub explained it, Assad's continued assaults on medical workers are "a strategy to make life completely unbearable" — basically, government-sanctioned terrorism.

But groups like the Syrian American Medical Society, INARA, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Medical Corps are out there risking life and limb to provide crucial care for those who need it most. You don't need surgery training of your own to help them out.

Photo by Zein Al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images.

2. There are plenty of first-response groups in Aleppo trying to protect and save innocent people before they become casualties, and they could use your help as well.

Groups like The White Helmets, Islamic Relief, and the International Rescue Committee are in Syria, searching for victims after these horrendous airstrikes and finding ways to create some sort of "normal" society for them — providing beds, food, and education as best they can.

If more people volunteered their money and time, it would make it that much easier to make a difference.

Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

3. Surviving through an armed conflict is a crucial first step. But people also need opportunities to build new communities and improve their lives.

Groups like the Karam Foundation, MercyCorps, UNICEF, and SOS Children's Villages provide educational programs to children along with that ever-important strategic training known as fun — giving children a chance at normalcy and relief, even in the most dire situations.

If you're interested in helping people of all ages get out of those scrappy, overcrowded refugee camps, you can donate to groups like Refugees Welcome, Migrant Offshore Aid Station, or the UNHCR. You can also take the time to educate yourself on your country's refugee entry policies and processes, and look into ways that your community can help improve those numbers and conditions.

Photo by Baraa Al-Halabi/AFP/Getty Images.

Maybe it was easier to ignore the Syrian refugee crisis before it had a human face.

We can't put that knowledge back in the box. But we can do our best to understand this crisis and try to make a difference.

It's easy to feel down or overwhelmed by the awful state of violence in the world. It's easy to ignore the things you've seen and return to the bliss you felt before Omran Daqneesh's heartbreaking visage filled your screen.

But if we all step up and do our part in small ways, we can make the world better for kids like Daqneesh. Because remember: Despite the savagery of that photograph, Daqneesh is still alive. All is not lost.

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Andy Grammer, the pop singer and songwriter behind feel-good tunes like "Keep Your Head Up," "Back Home," and "Don't Give Up on Me," has a new album out—and it is seriously fabulous. Titled simply "Naive," Grammer says it's "all about how seeing the good in todays world can feel like a rebellious act."

"I wrote this album for the light bringers," Grammer shared on Facebook. "The people who choose to see the good even in the overwhelming chaos of the bad. The smilers who fight brick by brick to build an authentic smile everyday, even when it seems like an impossible thing to do. For those who have been marginalized as 'sweet' or 'cute' or 'less powerful' for being overly positive. To me optimism is a war to be fought, possibly the most important one. If I am speaking to you and you are relating to it then know I made this album for you. You are my tribe. I love you and I hope it serves you. Don't let the world turn down your shine, we all so badly need it."

Reading that, it's easy to think maybe he really is naive, but Grammer's positivity isn't due to nothing difficult ever happening in his life. His mom, Kathy, died of breast cancer when Grammer was 25. He and his mother were very close, and her life and death had a huge impact on him.

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via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

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