blankets

Charity turns old blankets into winter coats for refugees

By COSTAS KANTOURIS

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THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — It’s been a miserable winter in Greece, especially for the many thousands of refugees staying in tents in old factories and warehouses. At a tiny workshop in the northern city of Thessaloniki, they’re trying to make a little bit of a difference.

Volunteers are working long hours to try to keep the refugees warm, with bursts of noise from sewing machines revealing their mission: To turn discarded blankets into jackets, overcoats and other winter wearables.

There’s an almost endless supply: The blankets — mostly army issue, gray with red stitching — came from the sprawling refugee and migrant encampment at Idomeni on the Macedonian border that is now closed.

As many as 14,000 people lived in tents at the site last year after European countries closed borders to refugees streaming into the continent. Greek police cleared the camp last May, leaving hundreds of tents and thousands of blankets behind. A Greek-German charity called Naomi collected them by the vanload to be washed and reused.

Project organizer Elke Wollschlaeger helps make and even model the coats, which have the label “Remember Idomeni” stitched inside.

“We’re trying to keep it in people’s minds what happened in Idomeni last year, and what Europe did to refugees and the Greek people, just leaving the borders closed and thousands of people stranded,” she said.

Greece’s government says more than 60,000 refugees and migrants remain stuck in the county following the border closures. It has struggled to shelter camp dwellers from freezing overnight temperatures. Authorities on the island of Lesbos are investigating three recent deaths at a refugee camp there, possibly caused by fumes from makeshift heaters.

For Syrian refugee Hasan Al Kodsy, helping out at the coat workshop in Thessaloniki was a natural fit. The 30-year-old used to run a family textile business in Damascus that employed about 100 workers. His journey to Europe stopped at Idomeni but he’s still hoping to join his wife and 2-year-old daughter in Munich, Germany, through the European Union’s slow-moving relocation scheme.

“I saw women (in Idomeni) shivering in blankets and that was not a nice thing to see,” he said. “So we started making clothes with the blankets.”

The charity doesn’t distribute the jackets directly but passes them on to other aid groups in return for donations, using any money raised for skills-training programs for refugees and projects to take them out of camps and place them in apartments. It also sells the coats to walk-ins, like resident Katerina Tsolakidou.

“We really liked the idea of re-using the blankets from Idomeni,” she said after picking up a coat. “It gives the refugees something to do. So instead of spending the money somewhere else, it’ll be put to good use here.”

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Article from: https://apnews.com/6d5e1d5a89a840a88c6b5c8cca19e89b

 

Independent volunteers in Idomeni Greece

Published on Apr 14, 2016

I am an independent volunteer, I don’t get paid and I cook for the people. Since we arrived here, 3 months ago, we have cooked more than 500.000 hot meals, we have distributed thousands of tents, sleeping bags and blankets, masses of dry food and vital information. We have been the emotional support and the humanity of Idomeni. All of this is thanks to the people who believe in us, supporting us with donations, and the people who know that the governments and the NGOs are not doing what they should.

I’m an independent volunteer, since my arrival in Idomeni, I’ve been taken by police force twice just because I witnessed them trying to take violent action. I have testified against the media accusing us of responsibility for putting the lives of refugees in danger. I’ve appeared on different media channels, accused of being a trouble maker and provocateur of protest. Our cars with soup have been stopped by the police more than 30 times. I’ve been woken from my bed by 20 police raiding our home at gunpoint, inspecting me and my friends one by one. I’ve been treated like an offender since the first time I arrived here.
I am here because I believe that people should help each other in the bad situations and I don’t agree how our politicians are dealing with this situation. I am just one of the thousands of independent volunteers from all over the world who have visited Greece in the last months.

And now, we stand together to say:
“Europe, don’t look away”.

An independent volunteer
http://www.AidDeliveryMission.org

Syrian Refugees are Suffering the Harshest Huda Storm

Syrian Refugees Are Freezing to Death in makeshift camps

Winter storm halts Syria fighting but leaves refugees freezing

“The storm has bad effects and good ones,” said Beibares Tellawi, an activist in the besieged neighborhood of Waer in the central Syrian city of Homs. “We have no blankets, no heating, but the regime stopped its airstrikes.”

“There is no wood, no bread: it’s hopeless,” said Omar al-Mohammed.

“The children are hungry, our situation is disastrous.” he added. “We call upon the outside world to help us.”

The little children were victim of the war and the weather.

“We have no food, we have no bread, we have no heating oil, and we don’t know what to do,” she said, crying. “We have been forgotten about and we are going to freeze to death.”

Syrian refugees are freezing to death in winter!
Syria refugees graphic chart

Read more articles:
Winter ordeal for Syrian refugees in makeshift camps
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30725558

Winter storm halts Syria fighting but leaves refugees freezing
http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_27285893/winter-storm-halts-syria-fighting-but-leaves-refugees

Deadly Lebanon storm blights Syrian refugees
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/01/deadly-lebanon-storm-blights-syrian-refugees-20151714584618952.html

CANADIAN KURDS PROTEST AGAINST ISIS

The Canadian government pledged $5 million in aid for Iraqi civilians as the Islamic State continued its assault on religious minorities.

They’re not Muslims — they’re actually anti-Islam in their beliefs and the way that they act.

Iraqi (Canadians) Protest against ISIS terrorism in Iraq

Read more articles:
Hundreds of Calgary Muslims protest ISIS violence in Iraq
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/hundreds-of-calgary-muslims-protest-isis-violence-in-iraq-1.2683589

Canada’s role in ISIS crisis criticized at Edmonton protest
http://www.edmontonsun.com/2014/09/15/canadas-role-in-isis-crisis-criticized-at-edmonton-protest

Thousands protest violence against Iraqi Christians at Queen’s Park
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/08/10/thousands_protest_violence_against_iraqi_christians_at_queens_park.html

ISIS ‘betraying’ Muslims, says Calgary imam before hunger strike
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/isis-betraying-muslims-calgary-imam-181407746.html

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