On Friday 27th October, local chef, Juliet Graham organised a 'Syrian Feast' at Tuppenny Barn in Southbourne, to raise funds for our tented schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The event raised an incredible £2245.
Juliet, who owns Green and Graham catering in Hambrook wanted to do something to support Children on the Edge and in particular, our education programme for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. She organised the Syrian themed feast, creating her own menu of delicious food which was freshly prepared at Tuppenny Barn with help from a team of volunteers.
Juliet Graham said:
"In 2016, I visited the refugee camps in Calais. Having seen how people were living, I knew I wanted to do something to help. Soon after, I heard Nuna Matar speak in Chichester and I thought it would be fantastic to join up with Children on the Edge and do something locally to raise funds, build awareness, and have some fun at the same time!".
Nuna Matar runs the education programme we support in Lebanon, and visited Chichester in April 2016. She met with a number of local supporters to talk more about the programme, inspiring many local people to get involved in supporting this work.
The meal for 67 hungry guests included lentil, chard and freekeh soup, flat breads, falafel and moutabal, along with lamb, marinated chicken kebabs and roasted quail, with an array of side dishes - Mujadara, Fattoush salad, Muhammara and honey roasted figs with halloumi. All the dishes went down extremely well with guests, who dined with the delightful tunes of some traditional Syrian music in the background, performed by members of the Sussex Syrian Community Group.
After dinner, Director of Children on the Edge, Rachel Bentley spoke about our work in Lebanon. She explained how we have been working with Syrian refugees in Bekaa Valley for over three years, in partnership with Lebanese NGO - Mercy Foundation.
Our programme provides quality, child friendly education for 500 refugee children, aged 6-12, who are unable to access government or UN school provision. The schools are safe places with a trusted adult presence. Where other projects of this kind bring in teachers from the outside, our model raises up teachers from within the Syrian refugee community. It costs just £194 a year to educate one Syrian refugee child in one of our tent schools, so the total of £2245 raised from the banquet is enough to educate 11 children for a whole year.
"I'm delighted that the evening was such a huge success and raised vital funds for a very worthwhile cause. I'm grateful to all the volunteers that helped to make the event possible, and to Tuppenny Barn, who very kindly provided the venue for free".
Rachel Bentley, Director of Children on the Edge said:
"We'd like to say an enormous thank you to Juliet and her team for not only providing such a lovely evening of fine dining and entertainment, but raising so much for our work with Syrian refugee children in Lebanon. As a small charity, funds like this really do make a huge difference, so we are grateful to everyone who was involved for making the event such a success".
Find out more about how you can organise a fundraising event for Children on the Edge.
We're taking a look back to our history, and will be sharing memories from our early work in the 1990's and early 2000's as part of a #ThrowbackThursday series.
In 2005 we established a Child and Community Centre in Aceh, Indonesia helping children and their community rebuild their lives after the traumas of the Asian Tsunami. The aim of the project was to start to rebuild a sense of normalcy for the children of the community. We worked with them to find local recognition and support and the project is now running independently.
Our UK Director Ben Wilkes talks about one of his best memories of working here:
“On my last day living in Aceh, Indonesia, after living and working there for 8 months on our Tsunami project, I leant against one of the buildings at the Child Friendly Space and just watched about 200 children of all ages playing and having fun; just being children.
When we arrived to work on the project, there were no children. The locals were very suspicious of us and closed to the idea of what we were trying to do.
In that moment, before leaving to fly home, I knew that undeniably Children on the Edge had made a difference. To the community, its elders and most importantly, the children who were overcoming their trauma and discovering how to be children”.
Children on the Edge continue to make a difference to the lives of thousands of vulnerable children around the world. Read more about our work and how you can support us.