Hand crocheted blankets, clothes, postcards of hope and offers of help are just some of the ways Dundee families have reached out to Afghan refugee families.
Refugees fleeing the crisis in Afghanistan are being resettled across the UK, including in Dundee.
Dundee City Council is preparing to welcome a small number of families and individuals and already people living in the city have offered their support to those fleeing the war-torn country.
Charity Dundee Thegither, along with pupils and staff from Braeview Academy, have also been making preparations to support those families.
Last month Dundee Thegither launched an appeal for basic necessities to get the families started.
They were joined by the group from Braeview who are also aiming to make sure refugees get a very warm welcome to the city.
Siobhan Tolland, co-founder of Dundee Thegither, said they had been overwhelmed by the support from the “amazing” people of Dundee.
She said: “We are so humbled by the response of the people of Dundee.
“People have been incredibly thoughtful and the volunteers have worked so hard.
“People have contacted us wanting to reach out and help in any way they can.
“We have had young mums offering to volunteer, someone donated beautiful hand crocheted blankets and so many other kind offers of help and support.
“It has been amazing, Dundee is amazing.”
She added: “I think Dundonians understand all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
“The Afghan situation has shown that no matter where you come from and what your circumstances are, you are welcome here.”
Inundated with help
Siobhan said despite being “inundated” with offers of clothing, the group is only accepting generic items until they know who is coming.
One of the individuals working hard to make sure refugee families don’t go cold in the city this winter is Laura Cordiner.
Social worker Laura, 37, has been crocheting dozens of warm blankets for the families.
Laura said: “I love to be able to help people and this is something I thought I could do.”
Laura who, crocheted during lockdown, said she hoped that families would enjoy her gesture of colourful and warm blankets.
Pupils and staff at Braeview Academy have also been working alongside Dundee Thegither to collect items.
Head teacher Lesley Elder said: “Staff and pupils have been bringing in items such as toothbrushes, towels, baby clothes, shampoos, soaps and clothes.
She added: “We want to help people arriving as refugees to get settled in with the essential items they will need on arrival.
“This charity project has had a great response and the school has managed to obtain a range of essential items for the cause.”
Postcards of hope
In recognition of the difficult circumstances which refugees leave behind, and the daunting experience of moving to a new country, pupils have also been writing ‘Postcards of Hope’.
Laura said: “In these they are writing a message of hope, comfort, and love.
“These messages will be translated to the languages of Pashto and Dari to show solidarity and welcome the Afghan refugees with words of reassurance.”
English teacher at the school Annum Imran who is leading the project said: “Refugees have been a growing part of the global community for a long time but there continues to be misunderstanding about what or who a refugee actually is.
“I feel it is important for our young people to recognise the political and social complexities of these terms and approach global issues with understanding, sensitivity, and empathy.
“The value of bringing social engagement and responsible citizenship into the lives of young people goes beyond the school walls and often leaves an impact that cannot be measured by grades or league tables.