PICTURES: Findochty pupils' cuddly toy collection to help Afghan child refugees
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KIDS at Findochty Primary have been stepping up to the plate to help child refugees from Afghanistan.
The Taliban seizure of power this August forced thousands to flee their homeland, many making it to safety with little more than the clothes on their backs. Many of those refugees are children, some of whom have become separated from their families in the desperate bid to seek safety.
The plight of these young refugees has not gone unnoticed by pupils at Findochty Primary, as the school's headteacher, Dawn Thompson, explained.
"Last term the children in P3/4 had been watching Newsround and were very upset at the plight of the children of Afghanistan and their flight from their home country," she said.
"The children immediately referred to the UNCRC (United Nations Convention for the Rights of the Child), in particular Article 22 (refugee children) which says that if a child is seeking refuge or has refugee status, governments must provide them with appropriate protection and assistance to help them enjoy all the rights in the convention.
"Governments must help refugee children who are separated from their parents to be reunited with them.
"Article 39 (recovery from trauma and reintegration) states that children who have experienced neglect, abuse, exploitation, torture or who are victims of war must receive special support to help them recover their health, dignity, self-respect and social life.
"The pupils immediately said that every child has the right to be safe and to be cared for and asked if they could do something to help those less fortunate children. We contacted the local churches and found that there were collections ongoing to help refugee families.
"The children wanted to give something to the refugee children that they could call their own, something to make them feel welcomed and something that would provide the children with a source of comfort. The class decided on a soft toy and teddy collection. They designed posters and spread their message throughout the school community.
"They received a mountain of soft toys and teddies which they then passed on to the different charities to disperse.
"I am immensely proud of the children for the empathy they displayed and their determination to do something to help other children."
In addition to the efforts of the Findochty kids and churches in the area, the South and West Church acted as a base for a community collection for Afghan refugees, which sparked a huge outpouring of support. The bags of clothes, toiletries and other items donated were taken to Highland Support Refugees in Inverness by local firm You Call Wheel Haul.