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Saturday 3 December 2016

Children to wear red to school in support of Syrian refugees

Dad Bernard Dunleavy with his kids Milo (2), Rex (5), Hazel (6) and Lou-Lou (8) launching National Schools red T-shirt day which is on 30th September.
Dad Bernard Dunleavy with his kids Milo (2), Rex (5), Hazel (6) and Lou-Lou (8) launching National Schools red T-shirt day which is on 30th September.

From Ireland to Indonesia, this week school children will be donning red T-shirts in support of Syrian refugees.

Bernard Dunleavy's idea for a day in solidarity has grown to become a global event and will take place on Wednesday.

Mr Dunleavy came up with the red T-shirt idea when the image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi was shown across the globe earlier this month.

The Syrian boy was photographed washed up on a Turkish beach, after he drowned with his mother and brother while seeking refuge in Europe.

Mr Dunleavy - a father of four, from Howth, Co Dublin - said he was at a loss at what to do after seeing the image.

"I also didn't know how to explain it to my children," he said.

"I wanted a gentle way to make them aware what was happening to people their age, not very far away.

"The most arresting part of that image is the bright red T-shirt that the child is wearing, so I decided to send my children to school at the end of September with a similar T-shirt on.

"I asked the principal, who thought it would be a wonderful idea."

Three of Bernard's children, Lou-Lou (8), Hazel (6) and Rex (5) are pupils of Scoil Mhuire primary school in Howth while son Milo (2) attends Bracken Hill Nursery School in Howth.

"I posted it on Facebook and Twitter and got a response from schools in Madrid, Scotland and the UK who wanted to take part," said Mr Dunleavy.

"It's now gone as far as Indonesia.

"Schools all over are participating in different ways."

It has been officially endorsed by charity Goal, with an option for people to fundraise.

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