Refugee help for Christmas

Birmingham’s Vietnamese-Chinese boat people gives back.

Birmingham’s multicultural and interfaith community has united together in the run to Christmas to give aid to refugees in Lesvos, Greece.

Over 5,000 items have been collected for the appeal which took place between 10th-26th Novemberr 2015. These included donations of warm, winter clothing for all ages, toiletries and camping equipment.

This is in partnership with: Project TOM (voluntary, non-profit British-Chinese youth group) Convoy of Hope for Humanity (led by activist Tariq Jahan and Shabana Mahmood MP), Birmingham Chinese Evangelical Church and Cafe Soya (run by a Vietnamese-Chinese refugee family). The minority grassroot groups joined forces in hope to bring refugees some #BrummyLuv, with Homeland’s David Harewood showing support.

As winter nears, there is still no solution for the 19 million+ people who have been forced to flee their home countries because of war, persecution and oppression – including 4.5 million children.

In light of recent Paris attacks, it is feared that backlash against genuine refugees will hinder their plight for freedom and safe passage during the coldest season.

WaiLo Li, Project TOM Founder, said , “We just really wanted to do something to help; it’s been heartbreaking to watch the news and see the images come through over the past few months. It’s unbelievable that this is happening in Europe, in 2015.

“We’re absolutely over the moon that we’ve collected over 5,000 items for the aid shipment with supporters from all over the West Midlands contributing. It was great teamwork and we hope that this will inspire others to do what they can, however they can. We’re also pleased to have raised over £770 in support of UNICEF and their work with the current refugee crisis.”

The sea container with the goods donations depart from Sparkbrook on 4th December 2015, arriving in Lesvos on New Year’s Eve. It serves as a follow-up trip for Convoy of Hope for Humanity’ to distribute goods to refugees.

Established in Birmingham in May 2008, Project TOM is a voluntary non-profit group which encourages more young people to get into charity work, making a difference to themselves and their community. Some of the main focuses of the causes are: emergency relief, poverty and education, especially for children in East Asia. To date, Project TOM have raised over £43,900 for charitable causes both at home and abroad, with over 58,600 beneficiaries.