The tears of his uncle recounting how his family were beaten up and then booted out of their homes in Homs has inspired St. Ambrose College schoolboy Ammar Estwani to lead a fundraising campaign for Syria.
Ammar, 14, from Hale, said: “My uncle Samir has only managed to get through on the phone one time to our family back in Homs and then I heard the most horrific tales, about how his aunt and cousins have been beaten black and blue and turfed out of their homes. They are now sleeping on the floor with no possessions, they have lost everything.”
Ammar continued: “It is believed that Assad has killed 10,000 people, has tortured another 20,000 and made another 50,000 homeless. In our homeland some people still believe he is the right man to lead the country, but that is because Assad controls the media and they believe his propaganda. In Britain we know exactly what is going on in our own country perhaps better than those who live outside of Homs. However, the Assad regime should know that Syrians will fight to the last man, our very last breath to earn our freedom.”
Born and brought up in South Manchester, Ammar has been back to his parents’ homeland seven times throughout his life and is now part of the wider Manchester Syrian community raising money for aid shipments.
“My family in Manchester, namely my dad Tamim, mum Nadia, uncle Salim and aunt Farrah, are part of the U.K. Foundation for Syrian Relief raised £40,000 on one night, which saw a aid container delivered to the port near to Homs, and I want to contribute directly to the next shipment. They need money, they need food, they need blankets, they need our support and above all they need Russia and China to stop supplying the Assad regime with weapons.”
Ammar, who is being helped by his friend, Sufyaan Niazi, said: “My plan is to raise £300 from my friends and colleagues at St. Ambrose. Sufyaan and I have been going round the school telling people exactly what is happening and saying if you only give a penny, it is enough for us… every little helps.”
As well as simply telling their school mates about the ongoing violence, the two young men are also planning a sale of Syrian food and a series of sponsored events.
He added: “I hope that the money will help put more food, more blankets more emergency supplies on the next container to Syria.”
St. Ambrose College Headmaster Michael Thompson: “Ammar is passionate about his helping the country of his forefathers and the Syrian rebels could have no better advocate than this highly articulate young man and St. Ambrose is delighted to support his fundraising initiative.”
(Manchester Evening News, Altrincham Messenger, Trafford Express, Altrincham Independent, Catholic Times, Catholic Universe and Catholic Herald)