This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
|Sharen Ravat, centre, at St Philip's Church with the Rev Sonya Brown and Suleman nagdi and some of the toys|
10,000 toys are heading to Syria
by Fiona Dryden
Generous folk have donated more than 10,000 toys for children devastated by the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Sharen Ravat, a multi-faith chaplaincy co-ordinator at Leicester College, was so deeply affected by the plight of children in Syria she decided to launch the initiative to help bring some joy to families, many of which have lost members.
According to the United Nations, the conflict has led to the worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda, more than two decades ago.
The drop-in session held at St Philip's Church, in Leicester, on Sunday collected more than 10,000 toys – enough to fill seven van loads.
Sharen said: "The toys have been given to the charity Hand in Hand for Syria, which will take them to children in hospitals and refugee camps in Syria.
"I pay tribute to the wonderfully generous people, including many children, who donated toys for this vital cause.
"What was particularly heart-warming was that so many of Leicestershire's different faith communities came together.
"Collectively, they demonstrated their shared values of compassion and love for children they will never know. I hope that these toys will bring a smile to their faces."
The Federation of Muslim Organisations was one of the many faith organisations supporting the campaign.
Spokesman Suleman Nagdi said: "We were privileged to be part of this superb charity effort, which focused on children. I pay tribute to Sharen Ravat, who single-handedly had the vision to arrange this appeal."
Fadi Al-Dairi, from Hand in Hand for Syria, said: "The people of Leicestershire will make a lot of children smile."
Hand in Hand works in partnership with projects overseas that have been established by members of the local community.