Skip to main content

New multimedia exhibition tells stories of people living through 13 years of conflict in Syria

Press release8 May 2024
Amira* with her daughter outside of the tent where they live in Syria Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide *Name has been changed
Amira* with her daughter outside of the tent where they live in Syria Photo: Gavin Douglas/Concern Worldwide *Name has been changed

A new exhibition that aims to tell the stories of people living through 13 years of conflict in Syria, opens this Thursday (9th May) in Dublin.

The multimedia exhibition, ‘Voices from Syria: Thirteen Years in the Shadow of Conflict’, features first person accounts from five people living in Syria, detailing their lives and how thirteen years of a conflict, that shows no signs of ending, has overshadowed their daily existence.

It also details the difference support from Concern Worldwide, with funding from the European Union, has made to their quality of life.

Amira* is one of those featured in the exhibition. She lives in a tent with her family in a camp in northern Syria for people forced from their homes due to the conflict. 

“Our life used to be very happy, but nowadays we are not happy because everything is a challenge. We feel that we are people that no one cares about, nobody is thinking of us. I hope that my children can change their lives and not live the life that we do now, I don’t want them to live in a tent,” she said.

Amira’s family received cash distributions from Concern and two of her children attended Concern’s non-formal education programme. The programme supports children who have been out of the school system to catch up with basic literacy and numeracy skills so they can graduate to formal schools and join classes with students of a similar age.

Almost 6.5 million people have left Syria and are registered as refugees, while 5.5 million have been forced from their homes, often multiple times, but are still living within the country. Over 2 million people now live in informal settlements.

Having their identity revealed poses a security risk for many Syrian people. For an audio-visual exhibition featuring people and their experiences, not showing people’s faces or anything identifiable inspired some interesting images.

“Because we were restricted in what we could show, we wanted to try and get as much of the person’s personality and life into the images. That's why we photographed people in the place where they live, photographed items brought from their old life before they had to flee, and items or things that made where they live now, feel like home,” says Gavin Douglas, Concern’s Multimedia Manager who took the photos for the exhibition.

“There was a man who keeps birds as pets and talks about how much he loves the birds. There’s a woman who has been living with her children in a tent in a camp for people internally displaced and after a couple of years realised that they had nowhere else to go, so she decided she needed to make it feel like a home. She planted a garden, made these beautiful triangle windows, and an exterior mud wall to provide a sense of privacy.” 

Over 90% of Syrians now live below the international poverty line. Prior to the start of the conflict in 2011 this figure was as low as 10%.

“This exhibition is not only an opportunity to remind ourselves of how a prolonged conflict can impact the lives of people, but to also remember that Syria, a country that has been impacted by unimaginable tragedy, is also a country that has a rich history, vibrant culture and a welcoming people,” said David Regan, Concern Chief Executive.

“Syria is however now in danger of becoming a forgotten crisis, more than 13 years into the conflict it remains one of the most complex humanitarian crises in the world. This year, a record-level number of people - more than 70% of the population - need humanitarian assistance inside Syria.”

The European Union has supported Concern’s work in Syria since it launched there in 2013. The EU is helping to fund Concern's multi-sectoral response in Syria this year, which is expected to reach 486,664 people.

“Concern’s powerful exhibition serves as a timely reminder that Syria is experiencing one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time, with 16.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance,” said Barbara Nolan, Head of the European Commission Representation in Ireland.

“The EU remains strongly committed to supporting the Syrian people, both inside Syria and in its neighbouring countries, and is determined to keep Syria high on the international agenda. Together with its Member States, the EU has mobilised more than EUR 4 billion in humanitarian aid, including close to EUR 1.6 billion for Syria, EUR 865 million for Lebanon, and EUR 417 million for Jordan.” 

Last year, Concern’s programmes in Syria’s north-eastern region reached almost 290,000 extremely vulnerable people with food vouchers, temporary employment, and small business grants (as well as other interventions). We also addressed problems of access to safe, affordable, and reliable supplies of water by rehabilitating six water stations and eight water networks—which supports 204,000 people.

‘Voices from Syria; Thirteen Years in the Shadow of Conflict’ will be held on May 9 from 11AM to 7PM and May 10, from 11 AM to 6 PM, at The Depot at the Complex, 12 Mary’s Abbey, Smithfield, Dublin 7, D07 XR70.

Please bring your own smartphone and earphones/listening device to this multimedia exhibition.

* Name has been changed to protect identity

For further information contact Eilis Staunton, Media Relations Officer, Concern Worldwide, at or 085 872 0720.

Share your concern