10,000 toys for children in Syria

Leicestershire churches and faith communities have donated an estimated 10,000 toys for children affected by the conflict in Syria.

The toys came in from members of the local Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish communities.

Churches made special announcements in their services to raise awareness of the toy collection, initiated by local resident Sharen Ravat to bring some joy to families who have lost loved ones, suffered injuries and been made homeless.

Ravat said, "I pay tribute to the wonderfully generous people including many children who donated toys for this vital cause.

"What was particularly heartwarming was that so many of Leicestershire's different faith communities came together.

"Collectively they demonstrated their shared values of compassion and love for children who they will never know. I hope that these toys will bring a smile to their faces."

The toys were collected at St Philip's Church, Leicester, and filled seven vans.

They will be delivered to children in Syrian hospitals and refugee camps by the UK-based charity, Hand in Hand for Syria.

Fadi Al-Dairi from Hand in Hand for Syria said, "The people of Leicestershire will make a lot of children smile. Leicestershire is amazing with its people."

The Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) was one of the many faith organisations supporting the campaign.

FMO spokesperson Suleman Nagdi said, "We were privileged to be part of this superb charity effort which has collected a huge amount of toys which will bring happiness to so many children who are facing a major crisis.

"This effort which focused on children was greatly needed at a time when many are facing huge trauma and uncertainty.

"I pay tribute to Sharen Ravat who single-handedly had the vision to arrange this appeal which has united so many of the faith and non-faith communities for a common cause for humanity."