TWO new mums have sent nearly 1,000 baby slings to desperate migrants fleeing violence in Syria.
Rachael Durkin, 25, and Jen Bannerman, 38, were so moved by the heartbreaking images of struggling refugee mothers that they decided to help.
But what started out as a small collection has snowballed, with baby slings donated from across Britain, Europe and the US.
Last weekend a shipment containing the slings many packaged with message of hope from their donors headed to the Greek islands of Kos and Lesbos, where thousands of terrified migrant families have fled.
Rachael, mum to one-year-old Charlie, told how she had been moved to act by the harrowing images of Aylan Kurdi lying on a beach.
A refugee mother and child (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
“It was Charlie’s birthday when that picture was published,” said Rachael, of Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire.
“We had spent such a nice day at the park and then saw that photo. It really struck a chord and I knew we needed to do something to help.”
First-time mums Rachael and Jen, who has an 11-month-old daughter, Elsie, had already become friends at a parents’ group in Glasgow. The pair were moved to tears by an endless stream of reports about the refugee crisis sweeping across Europe.
This year alone, half a million fleeing war in places like Syria have made the risky journey, often in flimsy rubber dinghies.
Hundreds of thousands have landed on Kos and Lesbos to make their way to Germany or Hungary. Because of the lack of buses, many go by foot, taking days to complete the gruelling trek.
“It is heartbreaking seeing what these people are going through,” said Jen.
One of the messages sent with the slings
“There are mothers walking for miles with their children and babies.
“As a new mum, I know it is hard just to get down the stairs and into the car with your child.
“The slings will give mums and dads the ability to keep their children close to them and safe.”
The mums set up a Facebook page, Slings for Kos, and within hours had hundreds of followers and pledges of support.
“We only expected about 50 to 100 slings,” said Jen, from Glasgow. “But we’ve had more than 900.”
They also raised about £1,200 to pay for shipping via a crowdfunding website and fundraising by Jen’s brother John Bannerman, 33.
The carriers were packaged up on Friday, along with Arabic instructions and notes from their donors. They were sent to Athens and then on to Kos and Lesbos.
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