You can donate (HERE) as little as £1 will help.
It's always difficult for me to share my opinions on world matters. Most of them are packed with a great amount of anger, heartache, despair and a whole lot of confusion... it's almost impossible for me to separate my feelings from my viewpoint. Like many of you, all of these emotions were heightened having heard the recent news of the UK government's decision to bomb Syria. It's almost surreal to think that we live in a world where the decisions of a few hundred men equate to the death, destruction and exile of a whole nation. I can only describe it as a complete loss of hope.
"No State, no home, no identity, no right to work. Doesn't the world see this injustice?"
Having said that, it's always in times of hopelessness that we see signs of unity... humanity. I felt proud to see ordinary every day people voicing their opinions on social media, seeing topics trend and even protests demonstrating that we are absolutely not in agreement with such actions.
This hit closer to home when I received an email from my good friend and former agent Josy. I don't think I have mentioned it on my blog but around 6 months ago my agent at Models 1 decided to quit her job after 10 years to travel the world. This was obviously bittersweet news to me - this was the lady who had taken me under her wing and help me flourish in everything you see today - but also so refreshing when you see a person go ahead with a journey of a lifetime. While travelling through Europe, passing through the borders, she found herself witnessing what we were all seeing on the news...borders filled with people who had to leave everything behind and risk their lives in order to save their lives.
Having made plans, set personal goals and discussed future aspirations with Josy over the last year of my life she knew that politics, charities and world matters were huge passions of mine and why she reached out. When arriving in Serbia and seeing the dire conditions of refugees arriving from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan she decided to volunteer and work alongside Refugee Aid Serbia helping out in any way she can. I mean, these are women, children, whole families sleeping in muddy fields absolutely freezing, ill, hungry and homeless. You can see the reality in this article (Here)
I, of course, wanted to help out in any way that I could and the SWAP COFFEE FOR SHOES campaign seemed so fitting as I often post my caffeine snaps. I mean, the idea that the average £2-£3 that we all spend on a hot drink a day could make a huge difference in helping people like Josy help those refugees is insane. It is something we can all relate to. Refugee Aid Serbia is ideally situated as an emergency aid center which provides clothes, shoes, medical aid, food and tea for those passing through.
If you are reading this and could spare even a £1 over this chilly period to provide a coat, pair of shoes or even just a bite to eat for those that have lost everything it would make a world of difference. This organisation is completely reliant on volunteers and donations. There is no coperate backing or large coperation providing support. Other than running costs 100% of the monetary donations received go to buying the items needed to best serve the needs of refugees.
Josy recently sent me a brief story of her experience which honestly melted my heart and left me teary. It showed me how alike we all are, how no matter our circumstances, we all want the same things. There is no way I could tell it for her so I wanted to leave this small part of it below to give you an insight:
"Having watched the news and the desperate situation we were often incredulous by how the guys would choose soaking wet trainers and a leather jacket over some stout walking boots and an XL puffa jacket. Young people everywhere want to look good and be cool. It is universal and no less so with people with nothing. The Serbian people are significantly taller and heavier built than the Syrians, Iraqis and Afgans so therefore it was often really difficult to find appropriate clothes in the right sizes. Of course everyone wanted skinny jeans and sportswear. Coming from a position of having a safe warm home in a land of opportunity it was initially puzzling as to why the warm, sensible clothing was being turned down. However with time i became aware that the refugees ultimately had a totally different perspective. They had left a land where their life was in danger at any moment. Whilst they were travelling without their material possessions they had hope, opportunity and the chance of a bright future. Everybody wants to look their best and make a good impression when meeting new people and of course every day these guys were in positions where their only way of showing who they were is through their clothing. Its like turning up at an exclusive club wearing your pyjamas and being turned away by the doorman red faced with the cool crowd laughing behind their hands at your appearance. The people we were working with not only wanted to make a good impression with the Europeans in the countries they passed through but they had to hold their own with their peers. Young individuals travelling alone are often sitting ducks for thieves, bullies people traffickers. Maintaining a level of kudos and respect as well as not standing out negatively from your peers is key. I think this is true of youngsters everywhere in the world. John was working on the shoe section and found it very difficult when there wasn't the stock to provide the right sizes or when people didn’t want to take the footwear available. We managed to raise 300 Euros from family and friends whilst we were there and along with other donations were able to buy a number of cheap and cheerful trainers for those whose shoes were completely destroyed. His best experience was fully kitting out a young family with 2 kids. He was able to give all of them warm winter shoes and socks as well as additional wellington boots for the children. He loved the team and the passion they put into ensuring anyone who came through was sent away better prepared for the long journey ahead. Miksiliste gives a huge number of people a place to rest their weary legs, wash, regroup, get warm and fed as well as receive advice. Medical aid is provided by volunteer doctors and Save the Children host a play area for kids to provide some kind of comfort and normality for the short time they are there. It is completely reliant on volunteers and donations. There is no corporate backing or large corporation providing support. Other than running costs 100% of the monetary donations received go to buying the items needed to best serve the needs of refugees."