I’m Mara, and I’m part of the core team at Care4Calais Manchester.
This week for the first time I went on one of the distributions to a hotel where refugees from Afghanistan are staying. When we arrived we met loads of families with lots of children. The kids were running around, but had nothing really to do. Luckily we’d also brought boxes of toys with us.
We gave out loads of toys, kids pens, paper and crayons, and clothes. The kids were so delighted with the toys.
They came running round the corner when they heard about it from their parents and friends, and there were huge smiles and grins on their faces.
Anwar, who works for an Afghani youth project in Manchester, came with us. He could talk to the children and made sure every kid that wanted a cuddly toy got one, and he was really helpful in making sure all the families got something they needed.
We ended up doing two trips because so many people were telling us they needed clothes. Most of them had only what they stood up in. Manchester has been so generous that we could fill all these orders easily, and it was a joy to do so.
Families also wanted jumpers as they felt cold – to us it was still a warm summer’s day, but it was nothing compared to the summer heat in Afghanistan, and children were shivering.
SIM cards were also in high demand so everyone could contact people at home. It’s been a very worrying time for them. Imagine seeing what’s going in Afghanistan in the news, but not knowing if your friends and family are safe back home.
We left the hotel promising to be back soon – and we will be. For everyone in the Manchester team it’s a honour to help the refugees here, and we’re so proud of the incredible way the people of this city have rallied to support them.