Vulnerable Syrian refugees are to receive special “Refuweegee” welcome packs when they arrive in Glasgow.
The packs, organised by community group Refuweegee, will contain essentials such as blankets, toiletries and stationery, Glasgow-themed items to introduce them to their new city and a heart-warming welcome letter from city residents.
Founder of the Refuweegee project, Selina Hales, said the idea came about from a desire to do something practical in the face of the growing refugee crisis.
Refugee and migrant arrivals in Europe are expected to reach more than one million before the end of 2015, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
That would make this year’s arrivals nearly five times the total in 2014.
The organisation said that 990,671 migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East have entered Europe so far this year, via a combination of irregular land and sea routes.
When you cross the Beirut River and enter the municipality of Burj Hammoud it seems like another city entirely. Whether you walk down the main promenade, taking in the sights and smells of the famous basterma (pastrami) restaurants, or get lost in the maze of streets selling every kind of artisanal product, Burj Hammoud is distinctly one thing: Armenian. Lebanon is home to around 230,000 persons of Armenian descent, the sixth largest Armenian population outside Armenia worldwide. They came at the beginning of the 20th century, refugees from the Medz Yeghern (Armenian for “the Great Crime”) – the systematic extermination of the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian population – disputed as genocide in modern day Turkey, but accepted as such by a growing number of states and individuals worldwide.
In the first 6 months of 2015, 137,000 people crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. The vast majority, according to UNHCR, were “fleeing from war, conflict or persecution.”
A third of those men, women and children who made it across the sea into Italy or Greece were from Syria.
The journey is not for the faint of heart. In April alone, 1,308 people drowned or went missing trying to cross the Mediterranean.