#FirstFiver

What to do with your first new five pound note…

On a recent trip to Turkey, I found Turkish farmers illegally recruiting vulnerable Syrian men, women and children to pick fruit and veg such as tomatoes and chillis.

After spending time on these farms, out in the middle of nowhere, I have not been able to get them out of my head.

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The families live here in absolute squalor. The ‘food and accommodation’ that the farmers provide are absolutely minimal, the children are skinny and the everyone is sick. Babies lie on the floor surrounded by flies. Mothers are often forced to leave them alone with a bottle whilst they work all day out in the fields. Everyone’s teeth are rotting, their hair is matted, and the winter is coming.

Whilst there, I made my way out into the fields and sat with some of the young girls, helping this tiny one with her never ending tomato chopping, preparing them to become sun-dried.

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As I asked this girl a couple of questions, she pointed to the man walking around them with a stick, and gestured (whilst his back was turned), that he would hit them with it.

The worst part is that these people are not paid until the very end of the harvest, so they are just hoping and praying that they actually will be. As illegal workers in Turkey, they are very vulnerable and have no rights, so it is not uncommon for the farmers to refuse to pay them at the end of months of back-breaking work.

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These little communities of Syrian families desperately need our help before the weather sees their conditions get even worse.

We have set up ‘The Five Pound Project’ to address some of the short term, basic needs in the run up to winter which mostly cost about £5 each.

Hat and sunglasses (£5 a pair)
Mosquito repellent (£5 per family)
Mattresses and Mosquito nets (£5 each)
Shoes: (Flipflops (£5) or Boots (£20))
Basic food and hygiene products (£10 per household per week)

When you get that first new five pound note and you wonder what to spend it on, I promise you, there is no more worthwhile way that you could make it go further.

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