Downton Abbey star supports Oxfam in making appeal to help Syria refugees - Feature Stories - Oxfam Hong Kong
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Humanitarian, Middle East03 DEC 2013

Downton Abbey star supports Oxfam in making appeal to help Syria refugees

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Oxfam Hong Kong

Oxfam is a global organisation committed to creating a world without poverty through its advocacy, development and humanitarian work.

You might know her as the prim and proper eldest sister from award-winning period drama “Downton Abbey”, but recently, Michelle Dockery took on a decidedly different role: The star travelled to Jordan to visit refugees from Syria with Oxfam.

The Syria Crisis has forced a large number of people to flee into neighbouring countries. In Lebanon, the refugee population has risen from 100,000 in December last year to nearly one million. Meanwhile, Jordan has registered more than 550,000 Syrians.

Dockery made her visit with Oxfam Great Britain last month and yesterday launched Oxfam’s 12 Days of Giving appeal in the UK to help raise £1 million for the emergency response to the Syria Crisis.

Michelle Dockery travels to Jordan with Oxfam Great Britain to meet Syrian refugees.

“What I have seen and heard on my trip is hard to put into words,” she says. “I met families who have had to leave the homes they have been building for years, mothers who have fled with their children, leaving husbands and loved ones behind, unsure when they will be reunited. All of the refugees I met were experiencing a terrible suffering which is hard to comprehend.

“I met families living in sprawling camps, tents on the side of the road and rented accommodation in horrific conditions with the damp so extreme it is making children and the elderly sick. Mothers told me their children are already unable to sleep because of the cold and it is only going to get worse.”

In Lebanon, many of the refugees have settled in areas that experience snow and cold temperatures. In Jordan, many of them are living in cramped accommodations as well as tents and temporary shelters.

Oxfam will soon start distributing winter kits. In Jordan, the kits going to those living in flats will include blankets, gas heaters and refill. Those living in tents will get blankets and plastic sheeting. In Lebanon, in addition to the kits, refugees will receive cash assistance or winter vouchers. But more funds are needed to step up the response.

Dockery meets a refugee during her trip to Jordan.

Dockery added: “I met just a few of the millions of refugees from Syria who are going to need the very basics to keep them warm and survive the coming months. Oxfam will be doing the best they can by delivering winter kits to help many of the poorest families, but they want to be able to do much more and so we really need the public’s help.”

Check out this video with Dockery.