Having launched the new edition of the cookbook I'd like to briefly explain why I chose Doctors of the World as my charity, and to highlight their latest campaign that urgently needs our support.
Doctors of the World provides some of the only trained medical professionals in the refugee 'hotspots’ around Europe and the Middle East. To say they have a difficult job is to put it mildly, but recently things have got a lot worse. With Macedonia having closed its borders to refugees - denying passage to those escaping violence in the most dangerous places on earth - thousands upon thousands of desperate people are now amassing on the Greek border.
Aside from their physical needs (many, in particular children and babies, are suffering from fevers, coughs, dehydration and diarrhoea) there is also the psychological impact of being told they have reached a dead end, when they are only trying to find a safe haven from the war they left behind. Many are suffering from shock and other mental health problems as a result.
These are families. Elderly people. Children. Pregnant women. People who until relatively recently were working, living and enjoying a life that we take for granted. Now forced to sleep in damp clothes and in freezing temperatures with just flimsy tents for cover. It's hard for me in my warm comfortable home reading the news on my mobile to truly understand what they are going through. Doctors of the World urgently need more funds to meet the growing medical needs of these refugees.
I thought long and hard before re-launching my cookbook. It seems in some ways to be an insensitive way to fundraise, seeing as food has become such a luxury for many victims of Syria’s war – for refugees, but even more so for those still trapped, starving, in Syrian towns where aid is being blocked.
Yet I believe that Syria’s rich food culture is something to preserved and celebrated and I hope that initiatives like this will help spread the word, and go a small way towards providing relief to those so badly in need.
More on Doctors of the World Greece appeal here.