Charity appeal raising over £1m sends powerful message of compassion | Katharine Viner

Huge response to Guardian and Observer appeal to help child refugees demonstrates our readers’ characteristic generosity

Click here to donate to our appeal

We launched our 2016 charity appeal less than a fortnight ago with a plea for solidarity with child refugees: that however distracted we may be by the volatility of world events in an extraordinary year, we should not forget the suffering of desperate people forced from their homes by war and persecution.

I am proud and delighted that Guardian and Observer readers in their thousands have responded with characteristic generosity. In a matter of days we have raised more than £1m for our three charities – an incredible achievement, and one that sends a powerful, positive message of compassion and social justice.

We know from your messages of support, and from the conversations Guardian journalists had with those of you who called to donate during last Saturday’s telethon, that the plight of refugees is an issue you care deeply about. For many of you, the provision of sanctuary and assistance to those in dire need is a matter of common humanity.

This year we have reported extensively on the tragedy of forced migration as millions fled war in the Middle East: we’ve recorded the misery of the camps in Greece and Calais, the fragility, the hunger, the disease, the cold, the stress, the sense of insecurity and lives on hold. We have also written about the work that many do to care and support refugees when they arrive in the UK. We will continue to do so.

Our journalism has moved you, but it has also angered you. The appeal has also a been a way for readers to signal frustration with what many of you see as the timidity of so many of our politicians over the refugee crisis, and the aggression, unkindness and indifference with which some parts of our media treat those affected.

For others readers it has been a way to make a small personal bulwark against the sheer horror of current events. As one reader told us: “I listened to the news coming out of Aleppo – the final hours of that poor besieged city – and felt I had to get things back in perspective. The appeal was the best way to re-establish some sense of what was important.”

As with last year’s appeal, many donors told us that they gave because they or their parents or grandparents were refugees. They are grateful for the welcome this country gave them, and the values, generosity and sense of justice that enabled so many of them to thrive.

Our three charities – Help Refugees, Safe Passage and the Children’s Society – do fantastic work to help child refugees, from providing vital aid in the camps, to finding legal sanctuary in the UK for unaccompanied refugee children, to giving essential support to help children adapt to life in Britain.

The appeal still has three weeks to run. For all of you who have given – and those of you who plan to give – our profound thanks for your generosity.

• Support the three chosen charities by donating here


Katharine Viner

The GuardianTramp

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