Every Ramadan my family in Kurdistan, Iraq, raise as much money as they can to feed those who are less fortunate. They've already raised £500 between them, this feeds 50 families, but there are so many families that need our help this year.
About the project
This is me with my uncle Mustafa the last time I visited my hometown of Suleimaniyah.
I've grown up in London, and he's grown up in Iraq. Here's a picture of us when we were much much younger...
Mustafa and I agreed that if I can raise an extra £500, he would increase the order we have every year, and personally give it to the people at Arbat Refugee Camp. This is quite a common occurence, so no need to worry about it not being accepted by the camp!
He will document the whole thing too.
Shortly after that last picture was taken, my parents fled Iraq due to the first gulf war. We were refugees for the next 4 years. I was that kid in those refugee camps.
It's easy to ignore what's happening in other countries when you're not surrounded by constant reminders, even I do it! I'm lucky to live in London now, I'm grateful everyday, but the worsening state of Iraq and Syria has compelled me to do something, no matter how small.
I don't want to ignore the refugees of Arbat. I want them to know that there are people out there thinking of them. That WE are thinking of them.
A lot of the refugees are Syrians who have fled due to encroaching ISIS forces. Others are Yazidi, or from Mosul or Tikrit. These are people who have had to leave everything behind, who have had their whole lives turned upside down in a single moment. They've lost loved ones, their livelihood, and the nightmare doesn't look like it'll end any time soon either.
Arbat: The Camp
There are about 6,000 people housed in Arbat, a permenant refugee camp. You can read about it here. But if you look in the wider Suleimaniyah area, there are 30,000 people who have newly settled there, as refugees, mainly from Syria.
We can't help them all unless we have tens of thousands of pounds, and then some, but we can do what we can, because it's better than nothing.
Here is a video of the camp if you want to see what it's like.
£2 - Thank you so much! Every bit helps!
£5 - Thank you! Wherever I am, I will say out loud, "Thank you [username]!"
£10 - I will thank you perosnally in an email.
£25 - I will thank you personally in an email with a gif that I feel best represents your personality (based on some quick internet sleuthing)
£50 - I will thank you with a postcard and do a drawing of you on it too. (Caveat: I am crap at drawing)
£100 - If you're London based, please allow me to buy you a drink, and shake your hand, whilst I fervently say "thank you" over and over again. If you're not London based I will send you a hand written letter of thanks with a potluck beverage drawn in!
£500 - I will get Mustafa to record some footage from the camp just for you, so you can see first hand the reactions to all the amazing food you have single-handedly supplied.
(I will add questions into here as I am asked them!)
How do I get in touch with you?
You can find me @meandvan or you can email me at email@example.com
Why shouldn't I just give my money to a well known charity?
You should! If you prefer to donate to a charity, by all means go ahead. Here are some suggestions: UNHCR, Unicef, WarChild. But if you prefer the immediacy, and very achievable scope of this project, please consider donating here too.
What are you going to buy with £500?
Chickens mainly. Meat is the most expensive thing, and we're going to give each family a chicken. I'll share an itemised bill at the end when we know how much money we have to buy things with! 100% of your donation will go to buying food though. I can promise you that.