Posts tagged ‘Syrian Refugees’

Give a Gift They Won’t Re-Box

Two of the 3,000 Syrian and other refugees who have already received hot meals from UNITED SIKHS, thanks to your support.

Today, we’ll gather around the hearth with our children and loved ones, as we remember the 300th anniversary of the shaheedi (martyrdom) of the Chhote Sahibzadey, who were six and nine years old when they were bricked-up alive by the Moghul authorities for refusing to give up their Sikh faith. Whilst our thick walls will shield us from the cold, we will recall how they were first kept in a cold burj (tower) with their grandmother, Mata Gujri, as pressure was put on them to give up their faith.

While you cherish their bravery, we also hope you’ll think of the young Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi refugees and their families, who are in need of a hot meal when they arrive on a night-train in Tabanovce, Macedonia. One such family is that of two-year-old Habiba, who arrived in subzero-temperature in Tabanovce this week, leaving behind unthinkable dangers in Iraq, and continuing on an equally treacherous path. Our team struggled to communicate with Habiba’s family, who spoke a little English and Arabi, but Habiba’s father continued to repeat two words to our volunteers in earnest: “Thank you.

18-year-old UNITED SIKHS volunteer Mussa Suleiman puts gloves on Habiba as her family eats hot daal (lentils) and bread.

In our six days in Macedonia, our team has heard the cries of children separated from their parents, the traumatic tales of survivors who narrowly escaped their home countries, and the tearful thanks of those who receive a cup of hot soup and a piece of bread–provided by your support for the UNITED SIKHS Refugee Relief Effort of 2015.

Over 3,000 refugees have been fed to date. With your support, we need to feed another 20,000 this Winter.

Benny Arben Suljmani, Mussa’s father and our partner from the local Bektashi community, says, “The refugees are hit by the coldest subzero temperature here in Tabanovce for the first time on their long and dangerous journey. This is the most important hot meal they will be fed. And we must feed each and every one of them.”

Kastriot Rexhepi of NUN Kultura Civil Association Skopje Macedonia said, “In cooperation with partner organization UNITED SIKHS, we provide the hot meal “Mercimek,” known in Arab countries as “Ades”, to warm up the refugees’ stomachs, and to reduce their challenges in the cold weather, very often below zero degrees Celsius in the evening and late nights at the transit refugee camp in Tabanovce. Hot meals are essential for the refugees in Winter. The smiles come back to their faces after they receive our hot meal service. Thank you friends from UNITED SIKHS for making this happen for them.”

In less than a week, your support brought 3,000 hot meals to these refugees. Help us spread the warmth to 600 more refugees tonight, and every night in the coming Winter months.

Read a previous press release on our hot meals appeal for refugees arriving in Tabanovce, Macedonia here.

Keep up to date on other UNITED SIKHS initiatives by following our social media accounts: Facebook | Twitter

Imagine Her as Your Child

Tabanovce, Macedonia: On December 16, 2015, the UNITED SIKHS Refugee Relief Team watched in stunned silence as a 5:00 am train carrying hundreds of refugees arrived in Tabanovce was greeted by subzero temperatures. Safeea was one of hundreds of toddlers who shuffled off the train after a train ride of four hours, and in the morning walked a few kilometers to the nearest village in Serbia. Despite her silence, her face spoke volumes.

Safeea could have been one of those hundreds of refugees who had not had a hot meal for the last 12 hours, before they arrived in Tabanovce, Macedonia. The same town where thousands of refugees from Syria and other tumultuous nations arrive every night after fleeing dire political situations and being trafficked across deadly waters. Our team of volunteers that night were headed by UNITED SIKHS Asia Pacific Coordinator Rishiwant Singh. Even with his ten years of field experience on the humanitarian aid front Rishiwant was totally unprepared for the physical and emotional toll of witnessing hundreds of children, too cold to cry, trudge solemnly ahead in their journey of survival.

“I could barely breathe let alone stand completely numb in the cold. The pain was just excruciating. I kept looking at the children. Thank God it was dark. So no one could see me crying. How can we stand aside and do nothing while these people are suffering so much,” he said.

On Sunday, the UNITED SIKHS Refugee Relief team working with our local partners started serving the first hot meals to refugees arriving in Tabanovce. We are compelled by the authorities to obtain the hot meals from a licensed company at set rates. For £3 ($5) we can serve a hot meal to a family of three. Our partners, the Bektashi community of Macedonia, the European South Eastern University, and NUN Kultura Civil Association Skopje Macedonia will assist in the distribution of the hot meals, fruit and bread to as many refugees as possible. Our media partner Sikh Channel will relay videos of our relief work in Tabanovce where up to 2,000 refugees pass through every day.

Donate just £3 ($5) to serve the first hot meal of lentils and bread to a refugee family tonight.

In the days leading up to their arrival in Macedonia, each of these individuals have risked their lives–likely more than once–across multiple countries, seas, and trains. After our team meets them, they continue out into uncertainty. But during that short time, your support allows us to be a beacon of hope that greets them with a smile, and the comfort of a hot meal.

Keep up to date on other UNITED SIKHS events by following our social media accounts:Facebook | Twitter |