The people of Eastern Ghouta find themselves stranded as they’re caught in a dangerous crossfire between Syrian government troops and opposition forces.

Mohammed Eyad/AFP/Getty Images.

Once known as an oasis just outside of Damascus in Syria, Ghouta has been under siege since 2013. And in an attempt to oust the last rebel-controlled territory, Syrian government troops are launching bombing campaigns and a ground troop offensive.


The bombings have been merciless with reports of more than 13 hospitals and medical facilities damaged or destroyed. Amnesty International stated that the recent bombing campaign is tantamount to war crimes. In addition to air raids and artillery strikes, the Syrian government has closed roads and tunnels.

As a result, some Eastern Ghouta civilians are suffering from severe malnutrition due to food and medical shortages.

Too many lives have already been lost. As of Feb. 26, the death toll has surpassed 700 civilians, many of whom are women and children. The gruesome violence has sparked international outrage. On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council — which includes Russia, an ally of the Syrian government — voted for a resolution calling for an immediate 30-day ceasefire. But that wasn’t effective in halting the violence between government and rebel forces.

On Monday, President Vladimir Putin called for a daily “humanitarian pause,” which is essentially a daily 5-hour ceasefire. Theoretically, this will allow people to leave safely.

But people living in Eastern Ghouta are still dealing with the horrific aftermath of the siege and are in need of assistance.

Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images.

As more devastating photos continue to surface, it's easy to feel hopeless about what's going on in Syria. But it’s our responsibility, not as members of a developed country, but as basic human beings, to do what we can to help those in need. It’s hard to know where to start — so we put together a few options.

1. Donate to Doctors Without Borders

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, is a global non-governmental organization dedicated to providing medical relief to war-torn territories and underdeveloped countries.

As of Feb. 21,13 MSF-supported medical facilities and clinics were bombed in the recent air raid. Donating to MSF allows them to continue operating in the region, providing life-saving medical supplies and equipment.

You can send them money here.

2. Support the International Rescue Committee

The International Rescue Committee is another international NGO that provides humanitarian aid, relief, and support to millions of people displaced due to conflict or natural disasters. They have been at the forefront for advocating on behalf of Syrian refugees and providing them with humanitarian necessities as the civil war continues.

You can send them money here.

3. Listen and amplify Syrian voices

The war in Syria has generated a lot of headlines, which in turn, has brought a lot of pundits and experts to the forefront of the conversations. Some have partisan affiliations or an affinity towards a certain stakeholder in this complicated conflict where multiple of governments and non-state actors are involved.

But the fact remains that those who are dealing with the brunt of the bloodshed are Syrians. While it’s good to gain insight and perspective from foreign policy experts and journalists, it’s critical to understand what life is like for Syrians living in conflict zones and refugee camps. This is why it’s imperative to not only listen to them, but to amplify their voices whether that’s through sharing their Facebook post or hold events and/or panel discussions in your community.

4. Learn more about what’s happening in Syria

Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP/Getty Images.

It’s important to understand what is happening in the Syrian Civil War to help with families suffering in Eastern Ghouta. You can start with these reports and fact sheets from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs. More importantly, share these resources and reading material to your network. Educate others.

5. Be involved and get active

Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

You can find a list of protests for Eastern Ghouta here. Sign petitions like this one from Amnesty International. Call your local representatives. Use social media to share photos and footage from the demonstrations you attend, and retweet the ones you didn’t.

6. Spread hope

Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images.

Spreading hope is something everyone can do. You can send messages of solidarity to those on the ground in Eastern Ghouta on Twitter and Facebook. You can upload a video offering your support or making a prayer for the innocent men, women, and children under siege.

It was Medgar Evers, a black activist at the height of the Civil Rights Era, that said, “you can kill a man, but not an idea.” There’s truth to that statement. But sometimes, especially after hearing about the turmoil and devastating death toll, hope feels like the hardest thing to keep alive. But when we do, it can make all the difference in the world.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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