It’s been nearly a week since I wrote my last blog post, as I haven’t been able to find the words. Last week, the photo of the little boy found washed up on a beach changed everything. The cutest little boy, he looked like he was sleeping, but he wasn’t. He was dead. I cannot look at the photo or even think about it without crying. And then the photos of him laughing when he was alive, such a cute smile – he looked like any one of our kids. Except he wasn’t, he was from Syria. And suddenly that day my eyes and the whole world’s eye were opened up to the crisis happening in Syria and how this ‘migrant’ problem in Europe that I’ve vaguely been hearing about is actually about families, parents with children, teenagers, human beings fleeing a war, just trying to find somewhere safe in Europe.
That Thursday when Aylan’s little body on the beach was front page news, I was at work but I just couldn’t concentrate. You know when your jaw hurts from trying not to cry. I was creating insurance web banners at work. No amount of insurance could help the Syrians. The difference between our world and their world was mind-boggling, how comfortable our life is. I felt so guilty, the day Aylan was found, I was at an Asda Press Day looking at Christmas stuff. Some bloggers were all over twitter that evening, complaining they didn’t get a goody bag. That is the depth of our problems. It’s so stupid in comparison.
I was like a zombie that evening, until my husband came home and he was feeling exactly the same as me. When he got home, he hugged Tyler a lot longer than usual. We all slept in one bed that evening, our little family. On Friday, I left work 5 on the dot. I had a £100 Dunelm giftcard that was given to me when I did the Style at Home photo shoot. I was saving it to buy some new towels and bedding for ourselves. But no, we didn’t need that stuff, so I headed to Dunelm and bought £100 worth of blankets to donate. Winter is coming, and these people are sleeping rough.
Someone asked me why this boy, why is everyone doing something now. There have been so many children drowning and only now the world notices? I explained why for me, and yes I do feel so guilty for feeling nothing until now, that it was the way Aylan was washed up, like he was sleeping, that is how our toddlers sleep, with their bottom in the air. The similarities in the body position was heart-breaking, and then the way he was dressed, in a red t-shirt and shorts with those little shoes – he looked like any one of our kids. I could just see Tyler in him. And I’m sure that’s how every parent felt with they saw the photo, and that’s why our eyes have been opened now. Now we see these people who trying to get to Europe as parents, not migrants. It’s so sad that that’s what it took, and I do feel ever so guilty.
I was meant to write about our holiday in Hastings, but I couldn’t bring myself to write about a seaside holiday, while on the other side children were dying at a seaside. I just wanted to help. I saw the terrible train scene at Hungary, all those poor people just trying to get out, and in the end walked for 100s of miles to the border. It’s so cruel. I know it’s late, but I wanted to do something to help.
I did much googling and found many causes that are helping that I could donate to, and many people fundraising and collecting donations to take over. There’s a girl in London who is going to Kos to help out, cook food for the refugees, and she has set up a Facebook page called Help Syrians in Greece and Hungary. I found a local one for me in Berkshire called Gossip Girls for Refugees who were arranging collections around Berkshire to take to Syria Relief on September 10th, who then were distributing in Hungary and Greece. One of their drop-off points is literally right behind my apartment. Over the weekend, my husband and I bought £70-worth of clothes, underwear and socks from Primark, and £40 of water and baby formula from Tesco. Together with the blankets from Dunelm, and stuff from my mum and sister, we also bagged up some of our own clothes and blankets and took it over on the Sunday, just before the storage unit closed for the day! The amount of stuff collected that day was amazing.
We also took part in the #HelpSyriasChildren twitter campaign that was organised by fellow bloggers, to fundraise for Save the Children. It’s easy to take part, just text SYRIA to 70008 to donate £5 to Save the Children. And I am also going to donate to the Migrant Offshore Aid Agency (MOAS) who are actually out there saving people from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.
But I don’t want to be like, I’ve donated and that’s that, no I’m going to make sure I help out regularly, and definitely teach Tyler how important it is to help others in need. I don’t like to watch the news or read the papers as it’s all so upsetting, the things that happen in this world, but we can still help out. Aylan, Galip and their mother Rehan’s death was not in vain, the world’s eyes have been opened.