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There won't be any happy ending for the dead little boy on the beach in Turkey. His name was Aylan Kurdi. He was three years old.

It wasn’t until the photograph of little Aylan found dead on the beach went around the world, that many began to remember their humanity. That ‘the swarm’ of migrants were people and that many, including other small children, had died before the tragedy of this little boy’s death.

 “Cameron’s use of the word “swarm” was carefully thought out; he avoided the word “plague” in case it implied God had sent them.” Frankie Boyle in The Guardian. August 2015.

Whilst the Government has been dragging its feet, it was only after public pressure they eventually arrived at the totally inadequate plan of letting in 20,000 refugees over five years.  In the meantime countless ordinary British people are outraged at the lack of action and are taking matters into their own hands.  There are many stories of individuals and groups willing to open their homes to welcome refugees.  Contributions in support of those trapped in ‘the Jungle’ in Calais are being collected and distributed by Calaid who are a group of volunteers collecting urgently needed donations for those living in the Calais refugee camps.

Donations have been very generous – in the absence of government action they need to be. You can donate too:  https://www.facebook.com/JoinCalAid

Refugees Welcome


Tens of thousands of people have marched in support of refugees across the UK as the European Union prepared for its latest bruising battle over how to handle the crisis caused by the many Syrians fleeing their civil war. In London, thousands of people – young and old, British, Syrian and other nationalities – marched down Pall Mall and Whitehall, many carrying placards and chanting “Say it loud and say it clear: refugees are welcome here”, and pausing outside Downing Street to ‘boo’, with some shouting: “David Cameron, shame on you.” There were dozens of similar rallies around the UK, in Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff, Brighton, Manchester, York, Edinburgh and other cities and towns. Tens of thousands also gathered in Denmark and other countries. They marched as ministers from across the European Union are continuing discussions to try to hammer out an agreement on where tens of thousands of asylum seekers should live – I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Women and Children

According to a report from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, women are the sole providers for one in four Syrian refugee families, struggling to provide food and shelter for their children and often facing harassment, humiliation and isolation. More than 145,000 Syrian families now living in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan are led by women, it says. The civil war in Syria has torn apart families and communities, forcing almost three million people – mostly women and children - to flee the country. Those interviewed for the report, Woman Alone – the Fight for Survival by Syrian Refugee Women, said they lacked resources, jobs, food, housing, protection and security. One in three reported they did not have enough to eat. 

"For hundreds of thousands of women, escaping their ruined homeland was only the first step in a journey of grinding hardship," said António Guterres, the UNHCR chief. "They have run out of money, face daily threats to their safety, and are being treated as outcasts for no other crime than losing their men to a vicious war. It's shameful. They are being humiliated for losing everything. Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian                                                                                                                                                        Louise & Irena

Published in OFN Newsletter 216