Our packs for Softex arrived with Shan Abdul Qayyum safely to be added on to pallets of clothing packs for Softex refugee camp in Thessaloniki.
They have kids packs for each tent too with games and pencils (inc sharpener!)/ pens and pads etc.
Katharine Nell and I picked the aid we had, and we shopped with Greg Ogden and then Genny, Sally, Gaye and Joan did the rest of the magic and it took a while as we had to coordinate all the underwear, socks and shoes and everything was size specific to every person.
We were supposed to be at at meeting at MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres) HQ in London last week but I couldn’t get there on time after study session.
We will link in with what they are doing to support the sharing and communication of info across refugee aid groups and extending into Europe. I think we all recognise the role the grassroots organisations helping in the Refugee Crisis stepping in where gaps are or sometime gaping chasms.
MSF have the experience and knowledge and if they identify training or similar people can benefit from or ways to get support then it would be amazing to be part of and they have the clout to help establish more robust ways of communicating maybe too.
Will keep you posted on what evolves. If you’re in a group that is doing this then get added to the list if not already can let you know how as its important we get the chance to be involved x
An alien came down from space…I chose three things to tell him that are going on in the world at the moment.
First I gave him my take on it.
Secondly I asked him which ones did he think were most important and being talked about most
Thirdly I told him what was in the media and being spoke about everywhere
1) The Bake Off
-My take: couldn’t give a sh*t, of no importance to anything
-He ranked it: lowest at number 3
-Level of importance in media/public: highest at 1
-My take: don’t care other than hope the kids are ok
-He ranked it: middle at number 2
-Level of importance in media/public: middle at number 2
3)Refugee crisis, Syrian war
-My take: well it’s not mine i’ll quote UNHCR “the largest humanitarian crisis of our time”
-He ranked it: top at number 1, he assumed the world had mobilised to help and bring aid and it was being talked about everywhere
-Level of importance in media/public: lowest at number 3, compassion fatigue has hit, barely in news, donations drying up, need Increasing and yet people don’t care as its not in our backyard….yet, either that or they’re too busy discussing bake off or Brangelina.
…He got back in his ship and flew off when I told him….think we’ll join him next time.
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We did a very positive and well received (so I am reliably informed) talk , Q&A and film showing to the LDS Church in Ewloe with many of their branches from Wirral, Runcorn and North Wales attending.
They had an amazing set of well planned workshops in the afternoon too for everyone to make items for the refugees.
It was a very moving event and I have to confess I cried when I spoke as I couldn’t hold it in despite trying.
We had an info stall after the talk, Q&A and film. Alot of people asked for info and took our pack lists for Hygiene Packs, Baby Packs and Emergency Food Packs. And quite a few people now want to go and volunteer and help so we are just putting a document together for opportunities in Athens, Thessaloniki and Chios with the groups their who need volunteers but to also list what kind of opportunities there are from helping in the warehouse to helping in the kitchens on Chios at PSK (Peoples Street Kitchen)
Elias Matar let us show his film ‘Flight of the Refugees’ which was of great interest (and hugely informative). Very grateful to him.
We passed on info about other groups more local to some people in parts of North Wales too.
They collected lots and lots of donations too which half have already been delivered to the unit ready to send over to Greece for winter approaching – so many kids hats and gloves and blankets it was really good to see.
We are happy to do similar for other groups too that will donate towards the cause and for Elias to Keep on being able to make films that tell the true story and are testament to the situation on the ground in many places.
We are currently discussing submitting his second film Exodus to some UK film festivals. I was lucky enough to have a preview last week and I cried so so hard watching it but it needs to be seen.
Kim from The Red Cross came too to present and she had a stand for info also, and between us all we answered the questions in the Q&A. The Red Cross are coordinating settlement locally of refugees on the Syrian Resettlement program and we are providing any items they request from us.
SO much momentum and so much action taken away from this day it was untrue. I hear that some of the information was passed on in other subsequent meetings and sessions in other areas so that is really good to hear.
The pallet of aid we sent over to Chios has finally arrived! Just spoke to Frances Nixseaman and its there at CESRT warehouse.
It had clothes, nappies, baby food, arts and crafts stuff to name a few things so thankyou to everyone who helped. x
Agreed with Shan Abdul Qayyum to do 14 more packs for Softex distribution of clothes. Have all the ages and info so we can make suitable packs.
We have 21 more hygiene packs ready to go to Athens to Kerrie Moor.
We are waiting on a pallet of baby bottles to come in ready to send to Chloe Kousoula for Softex and other camps. When this comes in we can send both this and the Pallet of aid to Kerrie Moor for Athens.
Louay’s skull rebuild operation I’ve updated on below.
And the lovely Kim Neige Guillot has taken away some of the drawstring bags that were missing string/ ribbon to add them in.
Refugee Relief Ynys Mon Helen Harris and Heulwen Dickinson have aid to come to us on Thursday at 4 too :))
Loads of updates/ info to tell you about Valentina Georgievska’s trip to Thessaloniki. She visited Oreokastro and Softex and bought some items there ranging from education/school supplies for kids, hygiene items, food and more. So will do a proper update later but she ended up staying longer with some doctors and volunteers. I again will post up a full lowdown later or tomorrow but from this we have all agreed we should help to send aid to them.
After this the first initiative is the COTS for TOTS – we need 40 travel cots for the babies in Softex to get them in something suitable to sleep on x
A message from Kerrie Moore in Greece:
“Wanted to show you how much value the aid you have already sent has… On Wednesday morning I’m accompanying a pregnant lady to the hospital in Alexandra . She has already suffered 6 miscarriages . This simple gift will show her that we care ❤ Some fresh underwear and gifts for the 3 girls along with a family hygiene pack . Thank you to your wonderful team xx”
Met the lovely Kim Neige Guillot last night at the unit to do swaps, she dropped us off a travel cot from a kind donor on her group and I passed over all the stuff for Calais for her for MeresyAid that Helen Harris had brought over from Anglesey from their group.
Collected also all the leaflets, life jacket, UNCHR stuff, UAREUK picture folder and various selection of UAREUK merchandise and also some bits that the Red Cross need for the family arriving soon here.
So all set, slept ok-ish (aswell as you ever do with a wriggly toddler in the bed!) Up early, chickens out and fed, had breakfast.
Ready to dress up for once not like a scruff and go present to the LDS church we know there’s at least 100 people coming. We are showing the film by Elias Matar ‘Flight of the Refugees’ which is becoming more and more important by the day as it is essentially now a testimony to the situation when the borders were open and the sheer desperation of many.
And I will be speaking about UAREUK and how as units of one feeling helpless we have all come together to create something that is stronger together and can help in some ways to make a difference to at least some people and as a small group it’s achieved a lot and thanks to all the members so I’d like to say Thankyou as I’ll be speaking really about all of you today and I’m proud of what we’ve done and we need to keep spreading the word to bring more people on board.
LDS churches from Wirral, Runcorn and north wales are all convening for today’s event and bringing their donations from their respective churches. These will be split between the camps in Thessaloniki and camps and squats in Athens.
I’d like to thank the LDS church for asking us to join in with today’s event and if any groups be they faith or community based would like to hold a similar event just give us a shout 🙂 x