Pashto welcome messages on donations at ‘shop’ for Afghan refugees

Refugees from Afghanistan arriving at Heathrow and teddy bears with welcome messages in Pashto donated in Norwich.

Refugees from Afghanistan arriving at Heathrow and teddy bears with welcome messages in Pashto donated in Norwich. - Credit: PA/Alive UK

Teddy bears with welcome messages for Afghan refugees are among the donated items at a special shop opened in a Norwich shopping centre.

Charity Alive UK said it had been so inundated with gifted clothing, toys and other items in an appeal to support the people evacuated from Afghanistan being resettled in Norfolk that it has opened the unit at Chantry Place.

People have been so moved by the plight of those forced to flee after the Taliban took control that the charity has also received welcome messages - some written in one of the official languages of Afghanistan.

Jo Bates from Chantry Place with Jo Thorne from Alive at the new unit at Chantry Place. 

Jo Bates from Chantry Place with Jo Thorne from Alive at the new unit at Chantry Place. - Credit: Alive UK

Jo Thorne, chair of trustees and pastor of Alive Church, said: “We have been truly overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of people in Norfolk who want to support the Afghans being resettled and have donated so generously. 

“Many people have also written letters, some in Pashto, and we have had teddy bears donated too. So many people want them to know how much they care and are welcome.” 

Soft toy donated by people in Norwich for children of Afghan refugees with welcome message in Pashto.

Soft toy donated by people in Norwich for children of Afghan refugees with welcome message in Pashto. - Credit: Alive UK


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It is still unclear how many of the refugees airlifted from Kabul will be settled in Norfolk, though council had initially planned for 50. 

The refugees are being settled in Norwich, South Norfolk and Broadland in private accommodation, with an appeal having gone out to landlords to offer up homes.

Councils have worked to get homes ready following donations from Norfolk people of furniture, electronic items and other furnishings made via www.gov.uk/help-refugees

Donations at Alive UK, Chantry Place.

Donations at Alive UK, Chantry Place. - Credit: Alive UK

Alive UK, which normally provides emergency support for people in crisis in Norfolk, opened a unit at Chantry Place in July to collect items to help reduce food poverty. 

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Last month, it began working with Norfolk County Council and district councils to support Afghans by appealing for clothes and other items.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council, said the Alive UK effort was an example of the “positive, practical and welcoming attitude people in Norfolk have shown”. 

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council.

Andrew Proctor, leader of Norfolk County Council. Pic: Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Norfolk County Council

“No one chooses to be a refugee and many Afghans have been forced to leave their homes with little to no personal belongings,” he said.

“Giving them the opportunity to select their own clothing in Chantry Place is all part of the warm welcome I know everyone in Norfolk will extend to those arriving in the county over the coming months.”

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