Thursday 30 November 2017

Please support Sufra NW London Winter Appeal - without your help where will Khalil sleep tonight?

From Sufra NW London
Last Friday, Haseena called me asking if we could help 19-year-old Khalil who had been sleeping rough for the past two weeks. A friend of a friend who worked at McDonald's had got in touch with her after noticing him picking leftovers from customer trays. I told her to send him over immediately.

Khalil tells his story in a short film here.

When I first set eyes on Khalil he was slumped against a table, his head buried in his arms. What made it worse was that he didn’t look like a 19-year-old - I wouldn't be surprised if he were actually much younger. Pulling out a chair, I sat down opposite him and asked what had happened.

Khalil is a refugee from Afghanistan, who came to this country 3 years ago with his younger brother. The siblings were orphaned when they were 4 and 6 years old. On arrival they were granted humanitarian leave and had been living with a man who was apparently their 'uncle'.

Following a dispute, the 'uncle' kicked them out of the house. His brother was taken into care, while Khalil was left to fend for himself. For the past two weeks he has been sleeping on a bench in the park, not far away from Sufra NW London.

"I sleep in the day", he said to me.

"It is too cold at night and it's dangerous." When I probed him further he told me that he was regularly propositioned for sex by seedy characters who roam the park at night.

"You have to watch carefully", he continued.

Today, we launch our #WinterAppeal to help Khalil - and others -  find refuge during these cold nights, whilst we arrange permanent accommodation. The winter months are the busiest time at Sufra NW London. Last Friday, over 70 people attended the Community Kitchen and we ran out of food!

But it isn't just rough sleepers at risk; countless families must choose between putting food on the table or heating their homes. Even a winter coat is unaffordable.

This winter, we don't want to turn anyone away. But to ensure that we can support every individual and family during the festive period and beyond, we need to raise £10,000 to maintain our emergency front-line services.

You can donate here.

Khalil was a drama student before he became homeless. He has an amazing sense of humour despite his misfortune. And he definitely doesn’t fit the (rather unfair) stereotype of a homeless guy begging for money to buy drugs or alcohol. He's desperate to work and has downloaded the Deliveroo app, but he can’t get a job until he has a roof over his head.

Without your help, where will Khalil sleep tonight?

Please open your heart and donate generously towards our #WinterAppeal here.

And finally...

If you're doing your Christmas shopping online, please use this link to direct you to your favourite retailer. A percentage of your shop will be donated to Sufra NW London. At no cost to you.

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