‘I’m overwhelmed’: UK charities report ‘fantastic’ response to help Afghan refugee children
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 19/08/2021
Charities say donations of clothing, bedding and toiletries have flooded in following a call to help refugee children arriving in the UK from Afghanistan.
On Tuesday Sally Depee, who runs Little Cherubs, a children’s clothing bank in Chapel-en-le-Frith in the Peak District put a post on Facebook requesting donations for Afghan refugee children who have recently arrived in the country.
“Urgent request for any clothes, shoes, bedding, nappies, equipment and toiletries age 1-13,” she wrote. “This is for 64 refugee children.”
She’d been told the children were staying in a hotel in nearby Cheshire with their families, having recently arrived from Afghanistan.
Cheshire East Council said the Home Office has arranged for a number of individuals and families who worked as “locally employed staff” to support British forces in Afghanistan to be accommodated in the area temporarily.
“I was expecting a good response, because I know how generous people in the local community are, but I didn’t quite anticipate how far and wide people would travel to help,” Ms Depee said.
“At the end of the day these are somebody’s sons, somebody’s daughters, we all have that natural instinct to help.
“The donations we’ve received have far exceeded my expectations and I’m really overwhelmed and quite emotional.”
Clothes, toiletries, toys, bedding, nappies and other items are being sorted into bags by about 30 volunteers.
Ms Depee says they’ll be given to the families and children over the coming days.
She said: “Initially I’d been asked to get the donations ready for Sunday, but then I had another phone call to say ‘is there any chance we could do this sooner?’.
“These people are cold, they’ve got the clothes they arrived in and they are cold and they have nothing.
“They’ve brought what they have on them, they don’t have any possessions at all, they had to leave.”
In Manchester, the charity Care4Calais said it had received £40,000 in donations, with clothes, shoes, nappies and blankets arriving by the bagful.
Yusuf Omar, himself a refugee from Senegal, says he has been very busy collecting donations for the charity.
“People have been bringing things all day and all night,” he said. “I haven’t slept”.
Those making the donations all say one thing spurred their kindness: the video of people clinging on to a US military aircraft, desperately trying to flee.
Clare Moseley, chief executive of Care4Calais, called the response “fantastic” and said she hadn’t seen one like it since 2015.
In September that year, the photograph of toddler Aylan Kurdi’s body on a beach in Turkey sparked a huge outpouring of help for refugees who were fleeing violence in Syria.
Ms Moseley told Sky News: “When there’s so much bad stuff in in the world, it can be overwhelming, and then just seeing ordinary people wanting to help and do good. It just makes you want to carry on.”
© Sky News 2020