St. Colman’s pupils air plan to help refugees

Syrian children march in the refugee camp in Jordan.  The number of Children in this camp exceeds 60% of the total number of refugees hence the name "Children's camp". Some of them lost their relatives, but others lost their parents.
Syrian children march in the refugee camp in Jordan. The number of Children in this camp exceeds 60% of the total number of refugees hence the name "Children's camp". Some of them lost their relatives, but others lost their parents.

Children at a Lambeg school are planning a balloon release to help raise money to buy up to 10 family tents for refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

More than 356 St Colman’s Primary School pupils will take part in the September 24 release to raise money for Save the Children.

Parents and guardians will also be invited to participate in the event.

Among the many people moved by the shocking images of a boy who drowned trying to flee the war in Syria, the children, staff and parents of St. Colman’s wanted to do something to help tackle the refugee crisis, the worst to face Europe since WWII, according to the Save the Chidren Fund.

Treasurer of the school PTA, Claire Patchell, said the plan emerged from a recent meeting.

“We normally organise a fundraising event in September anyway,” she said, “and as the images of the child on the beach were so shocking we thought we would like to help do something to help.

“I have a three-year-old so the picture of the child on the beach was just heartbreaking for me, as a parent, to watch. I know some people have very hardlined views about the refugee crisis but you would have to be hard not to be moved by the images on the television.

“We are all human beings and we all have a right to live safely.

“The minimum donation for a balloon is £2 but we are expecting to raise quite a lot.

“Parents can give whatever they want. This plan was thought of last week and it has just spiralled,”

Other successful fundraising events the school has been involved in have included raising £12,000 towards an outdoor classroom, and the Defibs4kids campaign, which aims to get a defibrillator based in all schools in Northern Ireland.