Collections in Glasgow and Edinburgh combined to bring hope to children affected by war
A collection of toys from throughout Scotland is ready to be shipped off to Gaza in a convoy with toys from around Europe.
Two collections, one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow, have been combined to be sent to children in the war-torn area along with those from the rest of the UK, Ireland and Denmark.
Alice Brown, a senior playworker from Edinburgh, organised the collection on the east coast.
In late July she noticed an advert for the European toy drive initiative and agreed to set up a collection point in Scotland.
Using Facebook she asked her friends to take part and the overwhelming response saw hundreds of items donated by members of the local community including disability activist George Lamb.
The fact that so many had clearly gone to the effort of buying new toys for these children when they can barely afford it is very typical of Scots
From further afield, a Newcastle family, embarrassed by the huge amount of toys given to their son for his birthday at a time when the children of Gaza were losing their homes and families, made a special trip to Edinburgh to deliver a car full of toys.
The toys were then packaged up by volunteers at the Edinburgh Direct Aid warehouse and transport was arranged with help from Eileen Carr, a humanitarian aid worker, and Ahmed Salti, a Gazan now working out of London.
Last Sunday, the Edinburgh toys were combined with toys from the Glasgow collection organised by Tamsin Lyte and Kevin Lyall.
“‘We were overwhelmed by the support and donations,” said Brown.
“The people of Edinburgh – and beyond – have been amazingly generous and, as usual, a huge number of donations came from areas of the city which suffer severe depravation themselves.”
Susan Rae, of [email protected], who previously worked in the West Bank and Gaza was also moved, and delighted, although not surprised.
She said: “The people of Scotland are always generous and have a strong sense of justice.
“The fact that so many had clearly gone to the effort of buying new toys for these children when they can barely afford it is very typical of Scots.
“All of the volunteers have such busy lives: jobs, families, commitments, but they all found some time to put in – I think the fact that throughout the entire project we only had one meeting says a great deal and was a major contributing factor to the success.”