Local residents unite to raise money for Syrian families

Submitted by: Ozel Rowland

Leyton and Walthamstow residents and small business owners came together as a community in February to put on a charity event raising more than £600 for displaced families in Syria.

The event, which took place in a hall provided for free by Lea Bridge Road-based youth organisation, Active Change Foundation, was originally intended to be a small scale coffee morning but ultimately flourished into a united effort between local female entrepreneurs and other local people, who donated their skills to put on a fun family event.

Along with various businesses selling cakes, candles, and cosmetics, the event featured clothing and jewellery stalls, and henna artists.11002488_10206331812073743_5034068090711421846_n

There was also an auction and a raffle, with one of the prizes posted from a supporter in Glasgow.

In total, the event raised £679 and accumulated ten boxes full of donated goods – including food, medical supplies, clothing and blankets – which will be sent to a Syrian refugee camp via the humanitarian organisation Buttercup Primary Foundation.

Event organiser, Zenhab Zafar, of Conyers Close, Higham’s Hill, first proposed the idea to friends and family through her Facebook page.

She explained: “Originally it was going to be really small, I was just thinking about getting some of my girls together and collecting loose change, literally just whatever we could get but then Zahra [Qadir] contacted me on Facebook after I posted the idea of a coffee morning.

Her family runs the Active Change Foundation and she said she would give me the venue for free and it all took off from there.”

Zahra Qadir, who helps to run the Active Change Foundation and founded the social media campaign #NotinMyName (see interview on page 6) said: “I thought it would be a really good opportunity for women to come together and to show that you can donate things to Syria rather than having to go out there, because a lot of women are going out there.”

10995937_10206331807353625_1659125837664909403_nShe added: “We’ve had people who have contacted us because family members have gone out to Syria and right now that’s the worst thing you can be doing.

“If you want to donate, you can and help out with events like this. You can give money where there’s a hundred percent donation policy and you know that’s going towards food and clothing for people in Syria.”