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Tuesday 25 April 2017

'I asked for a little and I got a lot' – Irish man raises over €6k for orphanage in Aleppo

The children sent Oliver this 'thank you' picture.
The children sent Oliver this 'thank you' picture.
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A Tipperary man who set up a fundraising page for an orphanage in the Syrian city of Aleppo has raised over €6,000 in just over a week.

Oliver Skehan (37) has been overwhelmed by the support his fundraiser “A Little for Aleppo” has received.

“We called it ‘A Little for Aleppo’ because we thought the most people would give is €5, but we have received some big donations.

“I’ve looked on like everyone else has for the last five years at what’s happening in Syria and I decided I couldn’t sit back and watch any more, I had to do something,” Oliver told Independent.ie.

Read more: Amid the propaganda of Syria's war, we know the children's agony is real

Moumayazoun orphanage is the only orphanage in Aleppo and the kids there have been sending Oliver pictures of them holding “thank you” signs.

Oliver sent the children back this message.
Oliver sent the children back this message.

He decided to help the orphanage after reading an article about it on The Guardian.

“Everyday I am in contact with the people in the orphanage on Whatsapp, but I’m so afraid that I’m going to one day get a message saying that it’s been destroyed.

“I have a 2-year-old boy of my own and I couldn’t look at pictures of children being pulled out of the rubble any more without doing something,” he said.

Oliver initially set a target of €5,000, but after receiving €3,500 in the first three days of beginning his fundraiser, he has now set his sights on donating €10,000 to the kids of Moumayazoun orphanage.

“If we can do something to make the futures of 100 children more hopeful, then that’s my job done.”

Along with making online donations, Oliver said he and a few friends are organising a couple of table quizzes and coffee mornings at the end of October.

“A couple of my friends are teachers. People have been contacting me saying they would like to get students in their schools to hold fundraisers so they can help kids who are far worse off,” he said.

All money raised will go directly to the orphanage in a bid to provide the orphans with a safe haven, as well as food and education.

There are currently 50 orphans living there, with room for 100 more.

“We’re not planning on going away any time soon. We are thrilled with the money that has been raised but now we really want to get to that €10k mark. Initially, I asked for a little and I got a lot. We know we're not going to save the world but we want to make some sort of difference.”

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