EXCLUSIVE: North East solidarity seekers and aid workers to sleep out in South Shields to raise funds

From Syria with Love: Ali, a Syrian refugee with a goodbye note to aid worker, Ruhi. Photo by: Ruhi Loren Akhtar.
Belgrade Barracks: Men lining up in the Belgrade Barracks. Photo by: Ruhi Loren Akhtar.
Lining up: Men lining up for food in the Belgrade Barracks. Photo by: Ruhi Loren Akhtar.
Statement: "No-one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark". Photo by: Ruhi Loren Akhtar.
Buying aid: Buying aid for refugee camps in Northern Greece. (L-R) - Rizan AleIbrahim, Jane Elizabeth Heatherington, Ruhi Loren Akhtar, Abdo Alrajab. Photo by: Refugee Biriyani & Bananas.

A group of North East solidarity seekers and aid workers will be sleeping out in South Shields to raise funds for a volunteer’s forthcoming aid mission to support refugees in Northern Greece and Serbia. 

The group are supporting Ruhi Loren Akhtar’s mission, to the European countries, which will take place on April 14.

Refugees and displaced people as well as asylum seekers and aid workers from the region are taking part in the event tonight (March 31) on the South Tyneside coast.

Two volunteers with Refugee Biriyani and Bananas, a group based in Newcastle, are also participating.

Co-founder of the group, Ms Akhtar, 27, said: “This sleep out is unique as it will be a true solidarity event. People from all back grounds will do this for one night to stand in solidarity with refugees who have had to flee war and oppression.

Jane Elizabeth Hetherington has been to refugee camps in France and Greece.

She said: “I cannot understand how humans can treat other humans in this way: babies sleeping on rubble, toddlers living in fields of mud, older children with no school to go to, very intelligent young men and women who have had to leave their studies or work, parents tying desperately to show their children some sort of normality, even elderly people sitting in the midst of crowded tents in a concrete warehouse.

“We can’t just sit back and do nothing.”

During the sleep out the group will be video calling with a Syrian refugee currently displaced in Greece and a refugee from Afghanistan currently in a Serbian squat.

One of the Syrian refugees sleeping out, 29-year-old Basil who’s currently living in Sunderland, added: “I love Syria, but it is very difficult to live there now.

“All the people are frightened of the bombs. Sunderland is a very good city. I like the people here because they are very friendly.

“Please help Syrian people in Greece because they have no homes now.

You can watch a live video of these and follow the sleep out on the The Refugee Biriyani & Bananas page.

To donate towards the cause visit the fund page.

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