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Grenfell Tower disaster survivor treated to countryside getaway

29th Mar 2018
Grenfell Tower disaster survivor treated to countryside getaway

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster were treated to a countryside getaway (Photo: Al Khair Foundation)

Nadine Osman

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster were treated to a four-day (February 12 to 15) getaway to the countryside by Al Khair Foundation, a leading Muslim charity.

Around 20 parents and children enjoyed an adventure in the countryside as they escaped the turmoil of trying to rebuild their lives following the tower block fire eight months ago.

Many are still living in hotels and temporary accommodation as they battle with authorities to find new homes and restore their lives.

They visited a farm – and for some, it was their first time feeding animals – walked in the woods and tried archery, climbing, campfire and den-building and woodland skills in the trip organised by Al Khair Foundation (AKF) and its implementing partner, Hear Women Foundation.

In a statement to The Muslim News AKF European Refugees Programme Officer, Florent Caillibotte, said: “We wanted to lift the survivors’ spirits and take them away from their area which is still a difficult place to be in for them.

“They are all trying hard to deal with the tragedy and to rebuild their lives but it is around them every day. We have been in the community providing practical and emotional support since the fire but felt the children would benefit from having a break in the countryside.”

Hisam Choucair, who lost six family members in the fire, came on the trip with his children, Zahraa, 7 and Muhammed, 5.

“The outdoor life and the greenery are natural therapeutic things to bring joy to people at difficult times, especially for the children,” he said.

“My children found this trip enjoyable. Everything has been taken away from them and they must feel empty and lonely. I lost my mum, my sister, all her children and my brother in law. I feel very empty, it’s not easy not having people around you. No support, family, or someone you feel you can come and speak to.

“It’s really difficult. Although I smile, I’m being cut up inside. I’m broken but I have to stay strong for others especially my children. There’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t think of my family.”

Mahad Ali Abdullah, who lived opposite Grenfell Tower, took his two children, Mohamed aged 18 and Safa 12, on the holiday, which was run by Surrey Outdoor Learning and Development at their centre near Dorking.

“It’s very beautiful here and we are disconnected from the outside world so it’s giving us full tranquility. My children really enjoyed it,” he said.

Hisam’s sister, Sawsan Choucair, who also lost six members of their family, said: “The organisers and the workers were lovely, so friendly, everyone was fantastic and did anything to please us. We have all been traumatised since Grenfell. The people from Grenfell tower have gone through a lot. They need something for them.”

“This has let the kids have a good time.”

One Response to “Grenfell Tower disaster survivor treated to countryside getaway”

AliApril 26, 2018

Why the photo of hooded young people doing archery? That just perpetrates a bad image of Muslims as sinister.

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