University of East London students donate hundreds of shoes to refugees

Dr Ruqiyabi Naz Awan and her brother Shakir Awan (Left)

Dr Ruqiyabi Naz Awan and her brother Shakir Awan (Left) - Credit: Archant

University of East London students and staff have donated 600 pairs of shoes to help give fleeing refugees a comfy pair of shoes.

The donations following on from a University-wide Shoes for Syrians appeal with everyone bringing in new and used trainers for five days across the campuses.

After the campaign was kicked off by graduate school academic Dr Ruqiyabi Naz Awan, who invited staff and students to donate comfortable shoes and trainers which would be flown out to the Greek island of Samos.

Dr Awan said: “The generosity of the UEL staff and students has been overwhelming.

“There is a great demand for shoes in the area. Having crossed the Aegean and walked long distances, comfortable shoes are a high priority for the refugees along with food, shelter and warm clothes.”

The Awan family were moved by the suffering of refugees, with Dr Awan’s brother Shakir flying out to Samos with his 11-year-old son and hundreds of shoes packed into suitcases.

“It all started when my brother was on Facebook and he discovered there were lots of ordinary people who just wanted to help, to do something,” she said.

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“People started talking to each on online, and it went from there.”