Posted: 26 August 2016

Solidarity with Refugees: These children need our help

Rosalind Ereira, founder of the Solidarity with Refugees march, tells us why charities like The Children’s Society taking part in the march is so important.

The children coming to Europe right now have often suffered horrors at home as well as on their journeys. Many have travelled with no family to look after them or lost them on the way.

I’m very proud to have charities like The Children’s Society taking part in this important march to show solidarity with refugees. The Children’s Society exists to be there for children when they are at their most vulnerable, including those fleeing war and persecution who need to re-build their lives in the UK.

These children need our help, and they can’t keep waiting. That’s why our march aims to send a clear message to Government. All children have a right to be well-cared for, get mental health support and not be made destitute or homeless.

I know that The Children’s Society works tirelessly in their specialised local services, and through their campaigning, to make sure that young refugees and migrants get the long-term support they need to rebuild their lives once they reach the UK. Alongside the other charities, The Children’s Society will be a powerful voice in the march.

Why I started the march

Last year I started the march – and I didn’t really plan to! I’d never organised a march before. I posted the event on Facebook simply because I saw that there was going to be an EU meeting to discuss refugees, and I couldn’t see anything already organised that I could attend to send a message to this meeting. I expected half a dozen friends to feel obliged to join me, and I imagined we might stand on Whitehall for an hour or so.  

The next morning, the papers printed the tragic picture of the body of the three-year-old Aylan Kurdi on a beach in Bodrum. The event went viral and around 90,000 people turned up on the day. The leaders of the three main political parties spoke on the stage.

Clearly, we need to keep up momentum and we are planning the march again for 17 September this year.

Hopes for this year’s march

This year is very different. Last time, I didn’t have to try to mobilise people to come, I just had to create something for them to come to.  This year I am working with a large number of amazing organisations - like The Children’s Society - who are helping to promote the demonstration and taking part which is great.

I want to build a more visible movement as I think that the number of people in the UK doing things for and with refugees is huge. If a movement becomes mainstream enough, and it seems that enough of the electorate are behind it, it’s difficult for policymakers to ignore.

I also want to send a message of hope to refugees. Without hope, people really suffer.  And I think that showing our solidarity can give people that hope.

Get involved

Join The Children’s Society at the march on 17 September RSVP to our Facebook page or email campaigns@childrenssocietyorg.uk

By Ros Ereira