Nine-year-old from Dalbeattie joins wave of compassion for refugees

A nine-year-old girl from Dalbeattie has committed to walking 22 miles to raise money to help refugees in the wake of the Afghanistan crisis.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 3:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 6:00 pm
Lucy Johnstone has prepared bags of her own clothes for refugee children as well as walking 22 miles

Research from the British Red Cross shows 50 per cent of Scots would welcome refugees into the area they live in, while 36 per cent would personally want to help.

The charity says support has already turned into action with a spike of sign-ups to their Miles for Refugees campaign.

One participant already embarking on their challenge is Lucy Johnstone, who was inspired to help refugees when she read the book 'When Stars are Scattered' by Omar Mohamed.

Lucy said: “Omar was just a kid like me when he and his younger brother Hassan went to live in a refugee camp in Kenya. I then learnt more about refugees all over the world and I really want to help them.”

She decided to find out more about refugees living in her area and discovered a local charity that helps refugees, including Afghans arriving in the UK.

In addition to committing to walk 22 miles for Miles for Refugees, Lucy has prepared bags of her own clothes for three of the children arriving from Afghanistan.

She is concerned they might be surprised by Scotland’s chilly weather, “It’s got a dressing gown in there in case they get cold,” she says.

During September anyone can run, cycle or swim one of six distances that highlight the life-risking journeys refugees are forced to take.

Funds will help people through the complex asylum application process and prevent them from falling into poverty.

Marie Hayes, Scotland Director at the British Red Cross, said: “People fleeing their countries have experienced the worst things in life, from war to persecution and extreme famine.

“The British Red Cross is calling for a kinder, more compassionate asylum system to support people who have been forced to leave their home behind.

“Clearly, the impact of Afghanistan has had a big impact on Scots, and I'm delighted to be seeing so many eager to help refugees personally.

"By taking part in Miles for Refugees, you can show the very best of humankind.”

To sign up visit https://miles.redcross.org.uk/