Wednesday July 15th

Sewing success in Woking as local Syrian refugees join to help during the Covid-19 crisis

A group of Syrian refugees have been making laundry bags for St Peter’s Hospital as part of Woking’s community-wide effort to help during the Covid-19 crisis.

After contacting the hospital to see how they could best apply their skills, the group, which is supported by Woking Borough Council’s Family Support Programme for refugees, has been busily supplying hardworking staff with enough hand-sewn bags to meet demand.

The collective effort was assisted by 52 year-old local volunteer Amal Khalil, who was keen to use her talents after settling in Woking two years ago.

A talented artist and entrepreneur, and experienced in making handmade decorations and accessories for special family events, Amal jumped at the chance to join the group of volunteers in their mission.

“Woking has a wonderful community spirit and the positivity and generosity of its people shone through during the Covid-19 crisis,” said Amal. “We all wanted to help and we were determined to use our own talents to contribute to all the local efforts being made, and particularly to supporting the NHS during this difficult time.”

Making great use of seven sewing machines kindly donated by Knaphill Methodist Church last year, and fabric which was donated by Family Support Programme volunteers who collected it from friends, family and members of the community. Amal was joined by Suhaila Ahmed, Mona Marwan and Aeisheh Alseirafi.

“This was a great idea created by our local Syrian community and I’m proud to have been involved,” Mona Marwan said. “Being able to do something helpful and practical to benefit everyone gave all of us a real sense of purpose during lockdown and we’re all really delighted to have been able to assist our frontline workers when they needed it most.”

Looking forward, Amal, whose name means ‘hope’ in Arabic, hopes to combine her love of arts, crafts with her entrepreneurial drive to create a new local business.

“This crisis has shown everyone that community really matters and I’m looking forward to the future with greater confidence and a real appreciation of what we have here,” Amal said.

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