NASHVILLE (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdish community in the US state of Tennessee has organized a clothing and supplies drive for Syrian Kurdish refugees in the Kurdistan Region.
The initiative was kick-started by Nejeer Zebari, a member of Nashville’s Kurdish community, in coordination with The Lotus Flower, a non-profit group that supports people impacted by conflict and displacement, and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC).
In less than a month, the donation drive managed to collect items from Kurds as well as non-Kurds across the United States, Canada, and Europe. The items were sorted and shrink-wrapped into 582 boxes at a warehouse in Nashville last week and will be shipped to the Bardarash camp in the Kurdistan Region soon.
Silav Ibrahim, one of the campaign’s volunteers, said the items would be sent overseas in two shipping containers and distributed by The Lotus Flower.
“We are sending two large containers, which will reach the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing. The aid group who we are working with will distribute the boxes to [the Syrian Kurdish refugees] at the Bardarash camp,” Ibrahim told Kurdistan 24.
The Bardarash camp currently hosts 2,619 Syrian refugee families, equivalent to about 12,000 individuals who fled to the Kurdistan Region following Turkey’s military assault on northeastern Syria on Oct. 9.
According to the JCC, the number of Syrian Kurdish refugees who have fled their homes to the Kurdistan Region since the start of Turkey’s military operation has reached 17,100.
Hejar Osman, another volunteer, told Kurdistan 24 the Kurds in Nashville are proud to serve their nation and help their fellow Kurds.
“The work we do for our nation should not be difficult,” Osman said. “We have managed to collect over 570 boxes of aid, which includes blankets for the winter, and jackets and pants for children as well as adults.”
“The packages also include various items for young babies, things mothers left behind when they fled their homes from Rojava to the Kurdistan Region.”
Nashville, located in the US state of Tennessee, is known for its sizeable Kurdish population and has even earned the nickname “Little Kurdistan.”
There are roughly 18,000 Kurds who live in Nashville. The Kurdish community often organizes rallies and cultural events to raise awareness about Kurdistan. The Kurdish language is also taught at public schools across the city.
(Additional reporting by Kawa Hassan)