'You're welcome here': Best pals, 12, make care packages for Afghan refugees

Jessie and Sophie want Afghan refugees to know they are welcome in the UK

Jessie and Sophie want to help refugees from Afghanistan resettle in the UK - Credit: Family handout

Two 12-year-old best friends are fundraising to help Afghan refugees resettle in the UK.

Jessie, from Hampstead, and Sophie, from Highgate, want to show refugees from Afghanistan – many who have fled poverty and violence – that they are welcome in this country.

After witnessing some of the scenes on social media, Jessie and Sophie are now compiling care packages made up of day-to-day essentials including sanitary and hygiene products such as soaps, shower gels, toothbrushes and hairbrushes. 

With the help of the charity Sebby’s corner, the care packages will be given to refugees to help them feel at home.

Jessie and Sophie want Afghan refugees to know they are welcome in the UK

- Credit: Family handout

“It doesn’t matter what their background is, where they come from, what they look like, they're welcome in our country,” Sophie said.  

The pals said it was heartbreaking to see children of similar ages to themselves left in precarious positions. 

“It can start by one person making a difference until the whole world changes,” Sophie added. 

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Jessie said: “It just feels so sad knowing people my age and younger are going through that.   

“They should be welcomed as any other person,” the 12-year-old added.

Jessie and Sophie want Afghan refugees to know they are welcome in the UK

- Credit: Family handout

The friends have so far raised more than £5,500, helping them compile around 250 care packages over the October half term.  

Abi, Sophie’s mum, said the fundraiser is an important part of the girls’ development. In December Jessie and Sophie will have their bat mitzvah.  

“The whole point of the bat mitzvah is to get to a point in their young lives where they realise that actually there's a big wide world out there.  

“They've got to start thinking of others and other causes and people who are less fortunate than themselves – and that's what the girls have done.”  

On behalf of Jessie’s mum Sara, Abi added: “They’re both really lovely girls full of compassion and kindness. We're really, really proud of them.”

Jessie and Sophie want Afghan refugees to know they are welcome in the UK

- Credit: Family handout

On August 17 the government agreed to welcome up to 20,000 Afghan refugees in the UK, including 5,000 this year.   

The move followed a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, as the Taliban took control of the country where the UK and the US deployed troops since 2001.  

Councils across the UK have pledged to rehome Afghan refugees including local authorities in London such as Camden and Haringey.  

To donate to Jessie and Sophie’s fundraiser visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-jessie-sophie-support-the-afghan-refugees

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