Michelle Dockery travelled to Jordan to meet refugees affected by the Syrian conflict and to raise awareness of their situation. See our exclusive pictures and find out how you can help...
Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery has come face-to-face with the conflict in Syria, and has seen first-hand exactly how it’s affecting young mothers and their children across the country
The actress, known for playing the unemotional aristocrat Lady Mary in the hit ITV series, travelled to Jordan with Oxfam as part of the charity’s 12 Days Of Giving winter appeal and the results of her trip can be seen in these heartbreaking pictures, exclusive to Marie Claire.
The appeal aims to raise £1 million over 12 days for Oxfam’s emergency response to the Syrian crisis, and all donations will be matched by the UK Government. Amazing, right?
Since last winter, the number of refugees fleeing into neighbouring countries has soared to at least four times the size it was a year ago. This time last year, the refugee population in Lebanon was 100,000, now it is around 1 million.
Many of those families are living in areas which are particularly prone to rain and snow. In Jordan, where more than 550,000 Syrians have been registered, 80 per cent of the refugee population is living in makeshift tents and mostly inadequate housing.
Last month, Michelle visited refugees from Syria living in Jordan, and today she launches the charity’s 12 Days of Giving appeal, telling us: ‘What I have seen and heard on my trip is hard to put into words. I met families who have had to leave the homes they have been building for years, mothers who have fled with their children leaving husbands and loved ones behind, unsure when they will be reunited.
‘All of the refugees I met were experiencing a terrible suffering which is hard to comprehend.’
She adds: ‘I met families living in sprawling camps, tents on the side of the road and rented accommodation in horrific conditions with the damp so extreme it is making children and the elderly sick. Mothers told me their children are already unable to sleep because of the cold and it is only going to get worse.
‘I met just a few of the millions of refugees from Syria who are going to need the very basics to keep them warm and survive the coming months. Oxfam will be doing the best they can by delivering winter kits to help many of the poorest families, but they want to be able to do much more and so we really need the public’s help.’
Money raised through the appeal will help to distribute winter kits which will include blankets, gas heaters and refills. Those living in tents will receive blankets and plastic sheeting to help protect the tents better from the rain and snow. In Lebanon, in addition to winter kits, cash assistance or winter vouchers will also be distributed.
Donations can be made at www.oxfam.org.uk/syria.