14 Nov, 2015 @ 11:01
1 min read

Jerez helps Syrian refugees

syrian refugees
Syrian refugees in Jerez

LED by a teacher at I.E.S. Seritium, a team of  students in Jerez have clubbed together to help those in need.

Syrian refugees in Jerez
Syrian refugees in Jerez

Since the country formerly known as Syria collapsed, its people have fled the violence to find sanctuary in other corners of the globe. Some Syrian refugees were recently admitted access to Andalucia by the Spanish government. Last year Spain accepted all 1,681 asylum applications. They came in via the Moroccan border, and are now quietly situated in Junta de Los Rios.

Spain has issued them with a red card. Although officially letting them into the European Union, it is only valid for six months and has no work permit.

“They can enter Spain but they cannot work here”

The Syrian refugee families undertook a mammoth journey to Morocco, with the mafias knives at their throats. They clubbed together and survived their ordeal, eventually achieving asylum in Spain.

When the young students caught sight of the families, they were filled with compassion.

“They are intelligent, they are like us, they are professional.”

“They have nothing”

They saw the families as being just like themselves, except caught in the clutches of migration. To help the struggling families, the budding students founded a Toy Donation Campaign. It was designed to encourage students and parents to donate their old toys These would then be collected at their school and taken to the Syrian children.

The spirit of the campaign was echoed in its advertising; achieved through posters, speeches in classes, and the establishment of a toy drop-point just inside I.E.S. Seritium.

“We went class by class to tell people what we were doing.”

The school and the army of parents put their weight behind the cause in a big way.

Since the depression hit Andalucia, many have come to understand what a desperate situation really means. They know more about hardships, and hence are more inclined to be sympathetic.

Conversely, the shortness of pockets within Jerez has actually made people more charitable. You can’t walk through this city without seeing a poster soliciting help for those in need.

So many toys were willingly donated that they filled the school’s library to the brim. The teacher leading the students even joked about having to get an overflow room sorted.

The collected games include dolls, board games and plastic dinosaurs. One student working on the project showed me a small fluffy monkey that was going to the refugees.

The mountain of toys for the refugees is due to be delivered this coming Monday.

The Syrians are very excited about this. For a while now they have been asking when the toys are due to arrive.

For the students their work doesn’t end here. They have formed a strong humanist group and now want to do more. They want to help people who are less fortunate than themselves.

Luke Andrews

Fresh from Durham to Jerez de la Frontera, the change in my life has been huge. I was born and raised in London where I worked as a tour guide. From there, I went to study an Anthropology BA at Durham University. This year is equivalent to a 'year abroad' for me, although not department endorsed. I had been learning Spanish for two years, and took the decision to come out to Jerez to gain experience of a different culture and life. My interests include swimming, drawing, writing (of course) and playing the piano.

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