Starving and homeless since fleeing from their hometown to avoid a murderous war involving the ISIS fighters, the Kobane children did not have, for some time, any reason to smile. But all that has changed; thanks to the generous efforts of the Sunday Mirror readers.
Thousands of Kobane refugees, mostly children, have taken refuge in Turkey after their hometown Kobane, Syria became a key battleground between IS, Kurdish soldiers and US and Arab forces carrying out aerial attacks.
Immediately, the children’s eyes lit up as the Sunday Mirror team handed over to them various relief goods such as books, paper, play dough, footballs and coloring pens.
A little girl called Ahin took her chance to say “Sank you” in her best English after receiving her share.
Azad, seven, said excitedly: “We were playing with footballs we made from mud but they’re not that good. Now we can have a real game.”
Duluvan, 13, said: “Sitting here every day with nothing has been hard. Now I can draw and keep a diary in my book. Thank you so much.”
Islem, six, smiled shyly as she rubbed her muddy fingers on her new pink tracksuit bottoms. “Pink’s my best colour,” she said.
And Jian, three, said: “I like sweets. I can’t remember if I had any before.”
For a moment the misery was lifted and the kids chewed on sweets and clutched their precious new books and pencils.
The European Commission has pledged £3.1million in aid to humanitarian groups helping refugees from Kobane. The funding will help provide water, medicine and shelter.
Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for International Co-operation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said: “Over 180,000 Syrians have been displaced to Turkey by the fierce fighting in Kobane. “This further adds to the impact of what is the biggest humanitarian crisis of our times.”
Generous Sunday Mirror readers made donations after the matter was highlighted in the newspaper, and on its Facebook account.
One of the donors is the family of teacher Melissa Heffer from Clacton, Essex, UK who said: “No children should have to suffer like this – we only wish we could help more.”
Care worker Amy Whittaker, 30, also in Essex, said: “It’s nice to be able to give directly to those children that we saw in such miserable circumstances last week.”
Donations are still pouring in, with others prioritizing the collection of blankets and clothing in time for winter.