On visiting Kurdistan
Rosalind Bluestone is Founder and Director of Goods For Good. Goods For Good distribute much needed aid to refugees around the world. At present their focus is supporting displaced people in Ukraine and refugees in Kurdistan.
In Kurdistan there are approximately 1.8 million refugees distributed over three provinces; Erbil, Duhok and Sulaimaniyah. There are 0.8 million of them in Duhok alone (where the population before their arrival was less than 1.2 million). Local relief agencies are fully stretched in trying to cope with this huge increase.
There was a sea of thousands of tents, each tent with another heart-wrenching story.
David from Poland, representing charity donors, visited for one week to help with the distribution of humanitarian aid collected from companies and communities in UK and Europe. Goods collected by Jewish and Christian charities. He introduced himself as a Jew from Poland; his family were victims of the Holocaust seventy years ago. He delivered new clothing, nappies, toiletries, boots and shoes for all ages. Moreover he delivered hope.
These refugees have lost everything, their homes and possessions; their livelihoods; their loved ones, and their dignity. They have also lost hope. Refugees from Syria, Yazidis from Sinjar, Christians and Muslims from Southern Iraq have all been driven from their homes. They have fled for their lives. Parents, sons and daughters, cousins and uncles and aunties have been victims of ISIS attacks – and many themselves have been victims of the atrocities. Family members are missing. Children are disappearing in large numbers. David heard from the aid workers that thousands of children had been kidnapped from the refugee camps and were being sold for $50 each. The stories were unbelievable.
Small children wept and told David how they’d witnessed their parents and family members being killed – deplorable violence and decapitations. They trembled and cried and told of the violence they’d somehow escaped. Protected behind barbed-wire to keep them safe, David was chilled by the sight of them and as pictures of the holocaust flashed through his head. Hitler had given people numbers. Each of these children had a name.
David discussed with the aid workers how the West could help could help and send more goods before the bitter winter 2015. He was told that 6,000 people had died of the cold during the last winter months and the need for warm clothing and bedding was urgent.
David was very impressed by the Kurdish people and how they are helping all refugees in their own region, no matter what their religious background. This exemplary attitude is crucial in these difficult times. David promised to tell the story and publicise the plight and despair of these people, all victims of circumstance. On the subject of publicity, David was further shocked when the aid workers became visibly nervous of ISIS repercussions if their photos were publicised.
[Permission has been given by the aid workers on-site to publish the pictures within this article.]
There are several ways in which we can help to ensure that these children and their parents don’t die this winter.
- We need warm clothing fleeces and jackets – wellington boots for children, winter shoes, trainers, (must be clean and in good condition please).
- We urgently need funds to get the goods to them. Logistics are expensive. Your donation can be made on line goodsforgood.org.uk (click on DONATE )
- We need more volunteers to collect and help us pack up goods.
Please contact us immediately to let us know YOU and YOUR community or company can help us. Please don’t ignore this appeal for help. THANK YOU.
Contact: Rosalind Bluestone – Founder & Director of GoodsForGood
Phone: 07866 429087 or 01582540521