A 92 year old woman in Swindon has knitted 400 jumpers for children in Syria.
The pensioner, who would like to be known only as Doris, sent her handiwork in to an appeal from charity Hand in Hand for Syria. The ‘Big Winter Aid Drop’ appeal called on people all over the UK to donate items such as children’s wear and basic medicines to be sent to war-torn Syria. Volunteer Caroline McGregor co-ordinated the Swindon collection point for the Big Winter Aid Drop. “Doris was knitting jumpers for a charity which stopped sending clothes out and her contact there suggested she send them to the Big Winter Aid Drop instead,” says Caroline.
“She was really happy about the jumpers going to help children who are facing a very cold winter in Syria. She declined to receive any gifts of thanks from us, all she would accept were more donations of wool so she could continue to knit and send jumpers through Hand in Hand for Syria.”
This was the second such national aid appeal organised by the British-based charity, and over 160 tonnes of aid were donated which were shipped to Syria in November in time for the winter. “We were really taken-aback by Doris’ generous efforts to help us; but she is not alone – we have just seen a phenomenal response to our appeals to the public to donate things like over-the-counter medicines, blankets, nappies and new children’s clothes,” says Iman Murphy, a trustee of the charity.
“Unfortunately it is a harsh winter in Syria and many of the people there are freezing and going hungry. It’s too late to try and ship more clothes or blankets out there now. What we need urgently is for people to donate money to our winter appeal so that we can buy blankets, heaters and shelter for people who have been living with war for nearly three years.”
This winter is forecast to be the coldest in the region for 100 years. With the recent onset of snow, many people will not be able to survive the coming months, in particular the large number of injured people, and the 6.5 million who have been displaced within Syria.
Most international aid agencies cannot reach these people as aid distribution inside Syria is hampered both by government bureaucracy and the security situation, and now the weather will prove an additional hurdle.
Hand in Hand for Syria specialises in distributing aid inside Syria and is able to reach people in around 90% of the country. The Winter Appeal will enable the charity to buy urgently needed aid from Turkey which can be handed out quickly inside Syria and help save lives.
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Hand in Hand for Syria has expressed its condolences to the family of Dr Abbas Khan, the British doctor found dead in Syria this week. The charity continues to run and staff hospitals in Syria. It has opened six hospitals in Damascus, Idlib and Deir Alzour and supplies medical aid and equipment to 78 field hospitals around Syria. The conflict in Syria started in March 2011. The UN has called it “the greatest humanitarian crisis in modern history” and reports 2.3 million refugees have left the country and 1 in 3 Syrians require humanitarian assistance. Hand in Hand for Syria is UK registered charity number 1145862, established in 2011 at the start of the Syrian uprising. It is a non-political organisation funded by individual donations. Its aim is to provide medical and humanitarian assistance to civilians affected by the conflict in Syria.