Friday, 4 September 2015

What Can You do To Help?

Completely off topic but it's all I could think about last night.
I'm not a hugely charitable man, I know that, but there are some things that make you stop and think. The refugee crisis from Syria is one of those things. 
I can't shake that picture of that little boy, who is the same age as my eldest girl (3), lying on the beach, face down in the sand, out of my head.
Nor should I. 
The father, a man like me but from another country, lost his other son (5) and his wife that day. I can't imagine what he's going through. He's lost everything, he hasn't even got friends and family around to support him as he grieves. 
To ignore what is happening to other human beings on this earth is terrible and I do feel a little helpless as to what I can do to help. There is a good article in the Independent about five practical ways you can help and I hope you join me in doing something, however small. 


  1. It is a harrowing tale Kev and more so when they show the children, I wont give money to charities anymore too many fat cats at the top benefit more than those you are trying to help for me its the practical route I will donate some items at one of the collection points toiletries and some toys, it a very sad state of affairs but i have very mixed feelings about it all, I watched an undercover documentary the other night and was angered by the attitude of some of those trying to get over here, they were told the UK would give them a house and money, the reporter caught up with some of them after they managed to cross to the UK and yes they had been given a home and benefits while they wait for the home office to make a decision and we have 1,000,s of British homeless who cant even get on the housing list, I do think we should be looking at what can be done to put there country right again instead of just opening doors and letting them flood in. I cant see how we can financially cope as a country ourselves

    1. completely agree with Dawn on this, couldn't put it better myself. what people must understand is that in the past the UK has taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees while the rest of the world turned a blind eye, buy now we are reaching maximum capacity, can scarcely house and find employment for our own people and yet the world still expects us to shoulder the burden alone. Its time the rest of the world stepped up and helped its fellow man, the UK cannot house the entire world!

    2. !00% agree with Dawn on this.
      The media for whatever reasons of it's own, are trying to make us all feel guilty. Guilt is not a good enough reason to make irreversible decisions.

    3. The UK is the 5th biggest economy in the world – we can afford it. And according to Home Office figures, Britain receives fewer asylum seekers in a year than Germany does in a month. So we wouldn't exactly be shouldering the burden alone.

  2. Kev I think that photo haunted a lot of us, especially if you have children the same age .

  3. This type of journalism is nothing to do with raising awareness of what is going on, it is all about pushing sales up. There are too many people in this country living on the streets or in completely horrendous accommodation. While my heart aches for all refugees I support local charities, when every Brit is warm, clean, fed and in a decent home then I will consider other charities. I do not want to start a slanging match, this is just what I do. I also sponsor a dog with Dogs Trust and help a local rescue center. I try not to be a hypocrite as there is no way that I could take a homeless person in, I do not have either the space or the courage, I just do what I can.

  4. As a country we give billions in aid, we help fund the camps along the border of Syria, and like every one we watch the horror happening around the world. But we can't help everyone, our countries are not big enough and each country have their own homeless and poor to sort. If we could bring peace to the regions, so people can live safe in their own country, that would be the best solution. I don't give money, Dawn has pointed out the valid reasons for not giving money but we do donate items purchased to help.

  5. Kev - i would have to agree with all the comments so far. what is happening to these other humans from the middle east is tragic - but there is a single mother at the end of my street who could use my $20, there is a food bank in my town that could use a donation, and a no-kill animal shelter in town. i don't want for any people to suffer ever...but until we find affordable housing and work opportunities for the people in my town - i can't think farther than that. i know that there are homeless people in vancouver, which is almost 7,000kms away and i shudder to think of them. but there is nothing i can do about them until the people and animals in my town are taken care of.

    still, i truly understand your horror at that photo. and in my heart i know that man is grieving in a manner in which i hope none of us ever has to feel.

    your friend,

  6. Kevin, you are a decent human being and caring family man who was moved by an obvious tragedy. I have so many feelings about this and too many other tragedies when they're brought to our attention. How can one not be moved? I saw a news report from a Syrian hospital where horribly burned people were being held after recent bombings. I say "held" because there is NO MORPHINE to tamp down the horrendous pain of 3rd degree body burns. A child and very young man had tears streaming down their faces & their bodies shook from the pain they could do nothing but endure in shock. My mind screamed "how can we let this happen" but that referred to not only the insanity of not supplying these people with basic medicines (how would we get them there?) but all the way back to how the world twiddled thumbs and watched the inevitable chaos of barbarous civil war approaching and did nothing but talk. I concede there weren't any "good" choices for western nations to help or forestall that one situation but the jumbled craziness that now sweeps from Africa through the Middle East into Central Asia is astounding to contemplate.
    As an American I feel part of the communal guilt for unleashing the seeds of this insanity in a misguided (being kind here) military action. I don't hear many Frenchmen expressing guilt for the hornet's nest we unleashed in Libya but I feel it since our President went in with Hollande. We may have saved thousands of lives by bombing Khaddafi's forces but opened so many more thousands to death. If one seeks it out we can find similar horrors in too many places & one is overwhelmed.
    I will do something for those refugees in some part due to your courage in broaching the subject. I give judiciously using a web site called "" to see how effectively & efficiently donations are used. I give heavily to my local food bank as no child should experience hunger right in my own back yard and to charities that aid our injured military and their families. My government sent them to war yet can't or won't care for them properly & I share that responsibility willingly beyond the taxes paid.

    I could rant about the foreign aid America spreads around the world as a reason not to do something to help these particular refugees & that rant while true as well as others won't change a thing. My parents stressed doing what you can, however small, where you've been put in this world but give intelligently to people suffering & not bureaucracies. It's been rightly asked why Muslim nations (aside from tiny Jordan & Lebanon) have NOT come to the aid of these refugees. Oil money is there to be used for aid but instead is being used to fund fighters of all sorts. Makes me furious but beyond my control.

    Now that I've gummed up your comment page with a rant too long I'll just say each of us gives or not for reasons of our own in areas that touch us.
    Seems you're moved to care for fellow human beings as much as you're moved to work so hard & care for your own family. So much to admire on your English Homestead.

  7. The real tradegy about the poor little boy who drownedwas that the family was already perfectly safe in Turkey. The father chose, like so many, to make the risky sea crossing to Greece in order to chase the golden honeypot that they believe exists in western Europe.
    We are also led to believe that the part of Syria they came from is wracked with war yet he has now returned there with the bodies of his family to bury them. I remember the Lebanon in the 80s and even further back Gaza where I first met my wife. They were not places you would go back to, ever, unless it was at gunpoint!
    He is going to have to live his life reflecting on his poor decisions, decisions that cost his family's lives!

  8. I think Dawn says it all.

    England is an overcrowded Island and these poor people should be helped in their own or neighbouring countries like Turkey. There are many people in the British Isles with no jobs or homeless but they aren't in the headlines except maybe Christmas when the Salvation Army asks for money so they can enjoy Christmas. Like you I feel so sorry for victims of war.

  9. I've worked in the past, in housing refugees - I do agree with Dawn whole heartedly and with the other comments made as well - I do believe that the young families should be given assistance in the first country that they enter and then they should make an application to the country that they wish to go to and it be up to that country if they're accepted or not. At least then the children would have a chance of a decent life and each country could say that's enough when needed to.
    However all the young men (especially those sitting outside Calais and in Hungary) should be deported back to the country of origin and told to fight for their country just like my grandfather's did in 1939.
    Because I know from experience that those young men are only coming here to 'take' whether we choose to give or not - Finally I do so wish that the do-gooders who feel so sorry for those young men should be made to spend 6 months working in housing - dealing with these young men along with working with the genuine poor, ill and elderly of this country perhaps then they would feel sorry for our own countrymen first and foremost - sorry for such a long comment but when you've worked with these young men, you cannot fail to have a completely different view point xx

  10. Well done, Kev. These people need our help and our compassion so we should give it. It’s as simple as that.

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  12. Hey Kev, I feel your pain. To see the children just brings it home to me that we are so lucky to be born where we are.
    I think that no matter what people say about charity in our own country we simply do not have the level of poverty here that is experienced elsewhere. I have experienced many people whilst I'm at work who say they need to use the local food bank who also light up as soon as they leave and have a good few stone of weight to lose. I'm not tarring everyone with the same brush but I think at times of crisis when people are fleeing for their lives they need help. The problem is that it is so hard to distinguish between genuine refugees and migrants who want to take advantage of our lax system.
    I don't have the answers but I like you can't sit by and not at least make a donation to help. Will it be used efficiently? probably not, but I'd probably just spend it on a hot chocolate and cake anyway so what's the harm?


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