Christmas message of hope

Haringey residents spread Christmas cheer and hope to prisoners worldwide through card-writing event

CROUCH END residents sent a Christmas message of hope to political prisoners around the world this weekend.

Hornsey and Wood Green Amnesty International teamed up with Haringey Green Party to take part in the annual Greetings Card Campaign, a scheme which aims to highlight the plight of individuals and groups around the world and has often resulted in people’s safety being secured and prisoners being released, say the organisers.

Volunteers are asked to take some time out of their hectic festive schedules to write greetings cards to prisoners and this year – the third time the event has been held – more than ever were signed, with 482 cards making their way across the world.

The event took place at the Hornsey Vale Community Centre on Mayfield Road on Sunday.

Organiser and Green Party activist Sarah Cope said: “I actually couldn’t believe how popular the event was this year.

“We had so many people coming through the doors that we had to put up extra tables, and the boxes we were putting the cards into were actually overflowing.

Most Read

“It will take a lot of effort to match this number of cards next year, that’s for sure.

“I’d really like to thank everyone who came along on Sunday and made this event such a phenomenal success.

“I just have to stick the stamps on all those cards now – and find an empty post box.”

She added: “The very simple act of sending greetings cards to these individuals and groups is extraordinarily effective.

“Receiving thousands of cards from people all around the world gives these victimised people strength and also shows the authorities that these people cannot be simply made to disappear.”

One of the recipients of this year’s batch of cards is Konstantina Kuneva, of Greece – a Bulgarian migrant working as a cleaner. She was attacked with sulphuric acid in 2008 because of her involvement with a trade union and Amnesty International is working on her behalf to try to obtain justice for her.

Last year Mayra Sirias received morale-boosting cards – she was one of nine Nicaraguan human rights defenders who faced legal action over their work for women’s and girl’s rights.

She said: “I don’t have the words to thank you for such solidarity.

“When I feel such tenderness, understanding, solidarity and dedication from people from different parts of the world, my spirit is strengthened and our struggle is shared.”