21st July 2014
BUS FULL OF BOOKS COLLECTED FOR SYRIAN CHILDREN
On Sunday 20th July 2014, a multi-faith charity effort set up by a Leicestershire resident, collected a staggering number of books from members of the public for children affected by the conflict in Syria.
Sharen Ravat launched the initiative after being deeply affected by the situation in Syria which according to the UN, is the worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda from two decades ago.
The drop-in was held at St Philip’s Church hall, opposite Masjid Umar in Leicester. Thousands of books were donated including contributions from many masjid congregation members and children attending madressas. Many women and children from the Muslim community who were fasting helped with the volunteering effort. The campaign built on last year’s toy collection for Syria which witnessed an estimated 10,000 items coming through the doors.
The books were given to the UK-based charity, Hand in Hand for Syria who will transport the items for distribution to children in hospitals and refugee camps.
Sharen Ravat said, “This was a monumental collection with so many generous people donating. Books are simple items which can provide learning, comfort and hope at a time of despair. The people of Leicestershire have contributed to putting smiles on the faces of thousands of children. The event brought together many of our faith and belief communities for a humanitarian cause”.
The Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) was one of the many supporting organisations. Their spokesperson, Suleman Nagdi MBE DL said, “We were proud to be supporting the book collection which will go some way towards helping to educate children facing a serious crisis in Syria. The combination of learning and story books will help develop, encourage and give hope at a time when the world is witnessing Syrian society becoming broken. This was a positive and practical way in which help was provided during the most auspicious of month for Muslims”.
Yasmin Surti, EC member of the FMO who volunteered on the day was delighted with the public response. She said, “This was another brilliant initiative organised by Sharen Ravat that I was privileged to be a part of. Once again the people of Leicester amazed me with their overwhelming generosity by donating thousands of books for the children of Syria”.
The Rt Revd Christopher Boyle, Assistant Bishop of Leicester added, “I was thrilled, delighted and excited by the collection. In any situation of extreme conflict, the vulnerable always suffer. The book collection helps to keep the profile of Syria in people’s minds. By being staged at St Philip’s Church, this inter faith effort was a symbol of Leicester at its best”.
Some of the other organisations backing the book collection included the Church of the Martyrs, Diocese of Leicester, Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara, Islamic Society of Britain, Hamilton Community College, Leicester Cathedral, Leicester Progressive Jewish Congregation, Linden Primary School, Masjid al-Ameen, Sikh Cultural & Welfare Society, St Boltoph’s Church, St Philip’s Centre and St Philip’s Church.
For more information:
Suleman Nagdi on 07759 446555