The Rev Karen Mitchell, the priest-in-charge of St Matthew’s, Bridgemary, and St Thomas’s Elson, on helping displaced people in Syria and Iraq
LIKE many people, when I see images or hear stories of desperation and suffering across the world I sometimes feel so helpless in the face of it all.
The challenge to help seems enormous – what difference can I make when there is so much need?
But that’s the point, it’s not up to me or to you to solve all the world’s problems on our own, but all of us can do something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
So when I heard about Samara’s Aid, an organisation that sends clothes, toiletries and other essentials to displaced people in Syria and Iraq, I decided this was one way in which I and we at St Matthew’s, Bridgemary, and St Thomas’s, Elson, could help.
Since then, our Knit ’n’ Knatter group at Bridgemary and our Cameo (Come and Meet Each Other) group at Elson have been busy knitting squares for blankets, as well as hats, cardigans, mittens and socks. Both groups have also donated essential items like toiletries and underwear or given money to buy these items.
The things we’ve made and collected will go to families in need who may either have been missed by other aid agencies or haven’t been able to access help themselves.
Samara’s Aid started in August 2014 when a young mum, Samara Levy, asked her friends to help her collect winter clothes for displaced people in Iraq.
It has quickly grown into a large humanitarian aid project. So far, 46 huge lorries have delivered clothes, shoes, bedding, toiletries/hygiene items, essential medical equipment, ambulances and school equipment. A hospital has also been opened in Syria.
Samara’s hope is for people to share the best of what they have (not cast-offs) with those who have nothing, so the aid that is sent is a message of hope and encouragement.
Many of the refugees have suffered terrible traumas, lost their homes and sometimes lost loved ones too. The quality of our donations shows that they haven’t been forgotten and that we do care.
To find out more about Samara’s Aid, visit samarasaidappeal.org.