New hope for refugees as fund breaks record

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

THEIR PLIGHT moved Bri­tish Jews to do­nate hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds — and now Syr­ian refugee chil­dren have ex­plained their joy at re­ceiv­ing the re­sult­ing aid.

More than £626,700 has been raised through World Jewish Re­lief’s cri­sis ef­fort, the sec­ond high­est to­tal for an ap­peal in the char­ity’s his­tory.

The chil­dren, who have es­caped the con­flict and reached Turkey, have been handed warm win­ter cloth­ing, books and school equip­ment.

Khalil, orig­i­nally from Aleppo, re­ceived back-to-school and win­ter sur­vival kits pro­vided by WJR.

“Maybe I can­not play with my friends and toys again but I will­keep­my­hopes with me in this bag,” the 11-yearold said.

S p e a k i n g about his jour­ney to Turkey, Khalil said: “We walked for days on end with­out tak­ing any of our be­long­ings to es­cape from the war.

“My friends, my toys and my hopes re­main in Aleppo. This city in Turkey is a new start for my fam­ily.”

Aisha, 10, also es­caped to Turkey. She said: “My fam­ily and my other broth­ers are in Syria. Here, it’s only me and my younger brother. My brother is eight years old.

“I dream of re­turn­ing to our coun­try, see­ing my fam­ily and lit­tle brother. I haven’t seen them for three years.”

Aisha re­ceived one of 3,000 win­ter kits, which in­clude two pairs of trousers, ther­mal leg­gings, socks, win­ter boots, and a sleep­ing bag.

WJR se­nior project man­ager Josh Si­mons said: “If kids are in school it is the best way to re­cover from trauma. It is the best way to break the cy­cle of poverty, and it is the best way to be sure that when the con­flict is even­tu­ally re­solved there is a gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren who are well-ed­u­cated and can go back and build the coun­try.”

Mr Si­mons said the ini­tial aid pack­ages would be fol­lowed by more in the weeks to come.

Mean­while a Bri­tish schoolgirl has raised more than £1,150 to sup­port the WJR ap­peal.

Kayla Sussman, a Year 5 pupil at Akiva School in north Lon­don, raised the money through a spon­sored si­lence. Af­ter stay­ing silent for more than 24 hours, Kayla said: “I did my spon­sored si­lence from bed­time on Fri­day un­til I woke up on Sun­day morn­ing.

“It was re­ally hard be­cause there was so much I wanted to say.”

WJR’s Sa­man­tha Martin said the char­ity was “proud of what Kayla has done” to help Syr­ian chil­dren.

Khalil and Aisha

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