I was sat in my nice, warm, cosy bed a few days ago watching tv and an advert came on by the charity UNICEF about their Syria Winter Appeal, now all of these kinds of adverts get to me in one way or another but there was something about this particular appeal that really made me want to do something to help and bring more awareness to these poor children.
UNICEF UK Ambassador Ewan McGregor is joined by fellow actors Michael Sheen and Tom Hiddleston as well as musicians Rita Ora, Tinie Tempah and Emma Bunton, in a short film which aims to encourage the UK public to open their eyes to the Syria crisis.
The film plays on the powerful double meaning of the phrase ‘No Place Like Home’, where home is something that we all hold dear during the festive season, yet millions of children in Syria have no place to call home.
Close to six million Syrian children, including more than one million refugees, are in urgent need of aid. They’re living in desperate conditions and face a bitter few months ahead, when temperatures can fall as low as minus six degrees Celsius. This past January brought the coldest temperatures in more than a decade and UNICEF is very concerned that exposure to these cold and wet conditions could be deadly.
Syrian children have lost their homes, have fled to Lebanon , Jordan , Iraq , Turkey and North Africa , and are living in refugee camps, in tented settlements and with host communities. The scale of the humanitarian response needed for the looming winter is unprecedented. Should tents and latrines be flooded with rain, there is an increased risk from water borne diseases. UNICEF is distributing winter supplies such as warm clothes, boots and blankets as well as supplying clean water and medicine.
Ewan McGregor, UNICEF UK Ambassador, said:
"My heart truly goes out to the millions of Syrian children who have lost everything: their families, friends and homes. Facing a third year in a freezing cold camp is no place anyone should call home, let alone a child. I worry that the world is starting to shut its eyes to the Syrian crisis.”
Rita Ora, UNICEF UK supporter, said:
“When filming UNICEF’s ‘No Place Like Home’ video I kept thinking of Pristina, my home town in Kosovo. The city has seen its fair share of trouble but thankfully that’s over now. But right now, children in Syria are suffering unspeakable violence, often fleeing their homes with nothing but the clothes on their back. Now facing a third winter in cold tents, their lives are threatened by the freezing temperatures. UNICEF works in more than 190 countries, from Kosovo to Syria and in all the countries providing refuge to Syrian children. Your donation could help UNICEF buy life-saving winter essentials to help bring children in from the cold.”
UNICEF UK supporter Michael Sheen said:
"Last month I travelled to Lebanon with UNICEF and met Syrian children struggling to cope in desperate circumstances. As the bitter winter closes in, they are being pushed to the edge of their physical and psychological endurance. No child should be living like this.
"UNICEF is working to bring children in from the cold this winter, providing basics like warm clothes and blankets as well as working long term to get children back into school so they can rebuild their lives.
"The UK government will match pound for pound any donation made to UNICEF's Syria winter appeal."
So what does 'home' mean to me? It means a safe and warm place for me and my family to live in comfort together and that is very important to me, I couldn't imagine not having that, could you?
If you would like to help the children of Syria you can do so by texting the word WARM to 70111 to give £3 or by visiting unicef.org.uk