Clothing Syrians for the Winter

By Pamandeep Sangha

In January 2017, the University of Birmingham Sikh Society ran a clothes donation drive for the people of Syria who are still suffering under the civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced over 10 million people. Warm clothes were urgently needed for the winter months that the victims of the civil war were ill-equipped for.

The heart-breaking destruction in Syria terrifies us all as we read of the harrowing reports that document the conflict. The innocent are suffering and resolutely surviving under the most brutal set of circumstances. The country has extreme shortages of the most basic necessities for the lives of the families that have been ripped from their homes and experienced unimaginable losses of relatives, friends and neighbours.

After asking around the society at our weekly meeting and my peers during lectures, it quickly became clear that there was an eager interest to both organise and contribute towards something that would directly benefit real people in Syria with humanitarian aid. A clothes donation drive was agreed upon, whereby unwanted clothes would be donated at a collection point on the University of Birmingham campus. Many people in Syria have lost all of their possessions and many are living in shelters that were only designed for temporary use, this has resulted in a dire need for warm clothes and bedding during the winter months.

 The society was an excellent stage from which to recruit people power, resources and to promote the event in order to conduct it successfully. However, the translation of a charitable event in Birmingham to tangible aid to people living nearly 3000 miles away in Syria posed a difficult problem. To resolve this, I turned to a charity that already exists. Syria Relief regularly ships clothes donations to Syria from their warehouse in Manchester (merely 100 miles away). So it was planned that the donations collected would be bagged into refuse sacks and driven to this warehouse by our own cars and drivers on a day already arranged with Syria Relief. The campus collection point was manned by our society members and we opened it for two separate days.

In the build-up to the day, the Sikh Society ran a campaign involving messages on the University’s television screens, posts on the society’s social media pages, a poster display and, probably most effectively, conversations with as many people as we could. The campaign was aiming to inform people of the upcoming collection as well as listing what sort of items should be donated.

Thanks to the generosity of the University and Sikh Society community, the clothes drive was a resounding success with over 50 refuse sacks of clothes, toiletries and bedding collected and delivered to Syria Relief.  These donations will by now have been delivered to Syria and will be utilised to help alleviate, at least slightly, some of the horrendous suffering endured by the innocent men, women and children caught in the war.


The team at UOB Sikh Society have made an awesome and easy to follow template on how they ran their event on the BOSS Bright Ideas page!