Laptops desperately needed to donate to isolated and traumatised child and young migrants and refugees

Our partner organisation Shpresa has been protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community for over 18 years. They pride ourselves on supporting people and empowering them so that they can give back to the communities in which they live and work.

The current crisis however is proving very hard to manage. Shpresa support over 150 children and young people in local authority care who have fled trafficking, blood feuds, homophobic violence and abuse and forced marriages. Many of these young people live in hostel accommodation and rely on the structure of a school day, drop-ins and their voluntary work on our Breaking the Chains project, to keep them sane. Now however, these children and young people, alone in the UK, without parents or any adult carers, are isolated in their rooms for days, weeks and potentially, many months. Without any structure to their day and with no one to talk to they are plagued by intrusive thoughts and flashbacks to past experiences of violence and trauma.

We have mobilised a team of volunteers to offer one to one support online to these children and young people as the crisis unfolds, checking in with them each day to ensure that they do not feel alone. Unlike their school friends, these young people have no family to support them through the crisis. They have to face all their fears alone.

The vast majority of these children and young people who were before the lockdown in school or attending college do not have laptops and many have very old models of mobile phones with limited capacity to facilitate online learning or to access educational apps.

We want to reduce isolation, support educational development and stop young people ending up alone and hopeless day after day. We have identified so far 72 children and young people in need of laptops that can be used for educational and social purposes. We are all dreading the months ahead but most of us have a family members we can chat with and people who have our back. These young people have only volunteers to keep them sane, yet their support organisation has had to shut all its youth clubs. We urgently require laptops to prevent vulnerable young people feeling so isolated and depressed they are at risk of gang exploitation or of failing to adhere to social distancing techniques due to fear and a lack of knowledge, thus putting themselves and others at risk.

We believe we can meet this epidemic with kindness and courage and we are asking you to help us to do so by keep young people safe. If you would like to be a part of our emergency C-19 response team and you could donate laptops, or provide any other support, we want to hear from you. We firmly believe we can beat this virus is we stay calm and kind and look out for each other. We are asking you to help us to protect the young people we work with for the sake of all our futures.

Please contact esmem@islingtonlaw.org.uk if you are able to help.

You can also donate to the emergency response through this link.

Young people enjoying traditional dance at Shpresa Programme