Ottery to put the spotlight on Syria to raise awareness

PUBLISHED: 11:38 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:01 24 March 2017

Members of Ottery Refugee Response group attended Sidmouth Cook for Syria event.
From l-r it shows Mel Argent (ORR), Meg Leahong (ORR) and Wafaa Alsawadi sitting; Trevor Leahong (ORR), Mazen Alsawadi, Rob Mackenzie (ORR) and Alaa Khattab standing.

Members of Ottery Refugee Response group attended Sidmouth Cook for Syria event. From l-r it shows Mel Argent (ORR), Meg Leahong (ORR) and Wafaa Alsawadi sitting; Trevor Leahong (ORR), Mazen Alsawadi, Rob Mackenzie (ORR) and Alaa Khattab standing.

Archant

An Ottery group is putting the spotlight on Syria to raise awareness about the war-torn country’s refugees.

Ottery Refugee Response has invited guest speakers Alaa Khattab and Baraa Kouja to talk about their experiences on Saturday, March 25.

Alaa, who is from Damascus, said: “There is so much more to Syria than the violence, death, and destruction that dominates our TV screens. At the Spotlight on Syria event, we want to present a more positive and personal picture of the country’s people and culture so that we can promote greater understanding of the Syrian refugee families due to be resettled in East Devon.”

Fellow speaker Baraa, who is from Aleppo, will share his experiences of being a refugee in the UK and how he founded the charity From Syria With Love.

The response group said it is working with the district council to resettle eight refugee families in East Devon.

Working with fellow groups, the organisation is looking to tackle the obstacle of finding accommodation for the families by urging landlords to come forward to help.

The awareness evening follows the group’s successful Rock for Refugees concert, which raised £1,500 for local refugee charities.

Organiser Rob Mackenzie said: “At our Spotlight on Syria event, we hope to attract a wide audience and not just like-minded people. It will be an opportunity to show our common humanity in a relaxed environment, to inspire people to think more sympathetically and do more” said event organiser Rob Mackenzie.

Fellow organiser Mel Argent added her hopes the event would help residents gain a greater understanding of the Syrian culture.

Mel said: “There are many different ways we can help to make a difference, however small, but sometimes people don’t know what to do or what to believe.

Visitors will also be able to buy Syrian food and listen to traditional music.

The evening will run from 5pm to 8.30pm in the Institute. It is free to attend but donations are welcome.


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