An Aberdeen Christian charity is appealing for support from the people of Scotland as it gears up for a humanitarian mission to Montenegro in March.
The King’s Community Foundation is preparing for its second trip to the country to assist Kosovan and Bosnian refugees who were displaced during the Balkan war in the 1990s, and who now live in refugee camps there.
The mission – part of a five year campaign which the foundation has committed to – has been organised to enhance the squalid living conditions of the refugees, who currently reside in steel container units with next to no support.
The foundation made the commitment to support the refugees after being approached by Convoy of Hope, an organisation which provides disaster relief, supply lines and outreaches to the poor and disaster-stricken areas across the world.
In November 2010, during the foundation’s initial mission to the camps, which sit on the outskirts of the Montenegrin town of Berane, the charity’s team of 15 volunteers installed toilets and showers for the refugees to use.
A key aim of the trip was also to improve the life skills of the refugees and, for example, armed with around 200 tubes of toothpaste, the charity’s team provided lessons on dental hygiene, as well as pampering sessions for the females in the camps.
This latest trip will see a team of 25 people from the King’s Community Foundation – which was recently established by the King’s Community Church on Aberdeen’s King Street – travel to the country on March 18, for one week, to carry out additional work at the refugee sites.
Specific projects to be undertaken include the re-roofing of the container units, further plumbing work, and also the distribution of food, clothing and medical supplies.
The charity is encouraging the Aberdeen community to get involved through donating any items which could be included within the packages, such as clothes, food products and general medicines.
Any financial donations received will be added to a specific fund, which has been set aside by the charity to raise cash to purchase and donate a van to a church in Montenegro, which the foundation has partnered with, and which currently provides some of the meagre assistance the refugees receive.
Members of the Montenegrin church, which is based in the country’s capital, Podgorica – a four hour drive away from Berane – attempt to make monthly visits to the camps with food packages.
However, the volunteers struggle for transport and so the King’s Community Foundation hopes to donate a vehicle which the church would own and which its members could use for such mercy trips.
Two of the church’s senior leaders, Iain Duthie and Barry Douglas, initially visited the sites in February 2010 and, on experiencing the conditions the refugees exist in, immediately decided to get involved.
Barry, who is heading up the Montenegro mission trip, commented: “Very early on during our initial, heartbreaking visit to the camps near Berane, we knew we had to get involved. The living conditions of the refugees on site are horrendous and, with next to no support being provided to these groups, they truly are a forgotten people.
“They get no help from the Montenegrin government and, as they have refugee status, they can’t legally work. They can’t return to their homelands as they fear they will immediately be executed and so it is a desperately sad situation.
“We hope to go over and, as well as provide some humanitarian support and assistance, encourage these refugees, put a smile on their faces and let them know there are people out there who care about them.
“Any donations received for the mission would be hugely appreciated and I’d encourage anyone touched by the story of these people and who would like to contribute in any way, to get in touch.”
Issue on behalf of the Kings Community Foundation by Mackenzie PR. Fior further information please contact Paul Beaton on 01224 580 188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org