Donating to refugee babies, children and women - can we start a MN campaign?

(55 Posts)
sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 15:28:48

There are an estimated 2 million child refugees from Syria alone.

I can see lots of fantastic work going on to collect donations of clothing and other necessary supplies for Calais, but they only want men's stuff, now we've sent a bunch of men's clothes to our local drop off point, what next?

What about the families, in other parts of the world - like those arriving in Kos, couldn't we set up some kind of network to help them too?

I have loads of good quality baby & clothes I could pass on, for example, and women's clothing too. I expect most of mumsnet do too! Between us we could probably fill a warehouse in no time with good quality children's clothes, shoes, bedding, books, toys etc.

However I can't find any drop-off points for donations in the UK for kids' / women's clothing. There are addresses you can post items to in the UK, and also you can post directly to Greece. But it if we could send stuff together, it would be more effective, and we could get more people involved.

Mumsnet & mumsnetters could help by publicising it and appealing for people & businesses to volunteer to be drop off points.

Maybe we could get a business to sponsor the cost of sending it over?

We could coordinate with agencies working with refugees who would tell us what is actually needed on the ground, and keep a thread on it so people knew what was useful to donate.

(Anything we set up should of course accept men's clothing too if it's needed, it would seem odd not too! Buy maybe it makes more sense to publicise it as being primarily so the parents of mumsnet can help refugee children).

What do you think, Mumsnetters & MNHQ?

(P.S. I know there's a campaigns topic but I thought I'd post here for more traffic to see if people are up for the idea).

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 15:34:16

"Syria is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a child.

7.5 million Syrian children, inside and outside the country, are in need of humanitarian aid, and millions have borne witness to unrelenting violence from the brutal conflict that began more than four years ago. 2.6 million children are no longer in school and 2 million are living as refugees in neighboring countries or on the run in search of safety"

From UNICEF USA

EmpressKnowsWhereHerTowelIs Sun 06-Sep-15 15:41:01

YANBU. Have a look at the MN homepage - there's a feature there, including a possible campaign and what people can do to help.

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 15:42:30

I never look at the home page I come straight to chat blush

Will go have a look now ...

EmpressKnowsWhereHerTowelIs Sun 06-Sep-15 15:56:10

I don't think many MNers go on the main site tbh! I only know about this because of the threads in MN campaigns.

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 16:02:25

I would be very keen to get involved, have already sent parcels of clothes to organisations already operating in Greece. Would it be best to start something ourselves or to involve ourselves in supporting organisations/charities already in place?

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 16:06:22

I would imagine it would be best to start by talking to existing agencies and working out what would be most useful. If there is an existing network of drop off points planned let's support that. If no one else is doing it, and it would be useful, let's set it up. Does that sound about right?

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 16:26:43

Yes sounds right. I am just aware that there is huge outpouring of wanting to help, but a danger that with poor co-ordination, the best will in the world will not get the help to where it is needed. Some of the cynics/people criticising those who wish to help as being ineffective/paying lip service etc may be right in one respect, just blindly emptying out your cupboards and dumping your old clothes where they can not be used is not going to help anything except the tidiness of your cupboards.

There either has to be a proper MN organisation/route/plan, or we have to feed into an existing one.

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 16:28:48

Yes I totally agree.

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 16:40:32

I think we are waiting to see if MN has an "official" organisational response to the whole issue, following their poll. But I am not sure that MN itself would be wanting to be involved in actually setting something up along these lines, as it could (shouldn't but could, given some people's views) prove controversial.

Is there anyone around who has experience in charity organisation/networking and things like that?

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 16:42:26

I spent quite a lot of money yesterday posting four smallish parcels of children's clothing to Kos and to Babipur. Now, I didn't mind that, but it is not a cost-effective way to get a lot of stuff to where it is needed. There is a limit to how much people can/will spend on posting things.

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 16:43:03

And if we coud fnd a better way to post/move goods, there would be more money for other things.

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 17:05:16

We could set up a network of drop off points, people & businesses could volunteer to store the donations.

Other volunteers could then drive it to a central point, and from there it could be shipped to a suitable aid org in Greece or other places where there are child refugees.

The shipping could be paid for by business sponsorship or by crowdfunding donations, but would presumably work out much cheaper than us all sending individually, so theDudesmummy more money for other things as you say.

Alternatively if another organisation already has this set up we could support them.

I have a bit of experience in campaigning and also sponsorship.

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 17:08:04

Maybe mumsnet could help organise this alongside the Christmas appeal, would that work?

Or is it important to get something off the ground sooner?

Like you say theDudesmummy mumsmet are going to put out an official response, perhaps they are planning this already!

Asking a bunch of (mostly) mums to help children and families does make a lot of sense after al!

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 17:09:23

This guy seems to be arranging pick-ups and to take things to Kos: it seems others may be joining him.
www.facebook.com/jonathan.brown.7967747?fref=ufi

iamaboveandBeyond Sun 06-Sep-15 17:10:01

I think this sounds like a lovely idea. I dont know how the logistics of it would work, but it doesnt sound like it has the potential to be as unpopular as a campaign for law changes eg. I would imagine that even those who are against the idea of mn actively campaigning would be happy with donations etc?

iamaboveandBeyond Sun 06-Sep-15 17:11:09

<realise that post is a load of nonsense - hope you can understand it! grin >

wankerchief Sun 06-Sep-15 17:12:07

If you read through all the aid charity sites they have stuff for women and children.
Its mens clothing and shoes they seem to need.

Why not sell the clothing and give the proceeds to a refugee charity.

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 17:12:11

I don't think we should wait till Xmas appeal, we need to get these things moving now. Mumsnet can you let us know if there is any scope for you being involved, or shall individuals get cracking?

theDudesmummy Sun 06-Sep-15 17:13:32

Calais need men's stuff but that is not what we are referring to here. There are plenty of children in need of help further east.

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 17:14:29

"I would imagine that even those who are against the idea of mn actively campaigning would be happy with donations etc?"

I agree.

However <minor wobble!> I would hope this wouldn't be the only campaign. I would love mumsnet also to campaign to help refugees actually find refuge in the UK. I wouldn't want this to detract effort from that, if that's what they had planned, do you think it might?

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 17:16:13

wankerchief thre are 2 million child refugees from Syria alone - see the posts at the top of the thread.

They're just not in Calais.

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 17:17:35

"I don't think we should wait till Xmas appeal, we need to get these things moving now."

I was just an idea, but you're right, of course. We should get going ASAP.

sleepyelectricsheep Sun 06-Sep-15 17:17:53

*It not I!

HexBramble Sun 06-Sep-15 17:22:17

Marking place.
Am going to hit as many shops as I can afford for packs of underwear, socks, my friends are donating good winter shoes, as much as I can pack into boxes.

Like you say, I need help getting these items to their destinations, so will be watching this thread closely.

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