After seeing thousands of refugee children on television who ‘have nothing’, a six-year-old boy from Leeds has decided to give his birthday presents away to migrant children in France.
Currently, there are 1,179 children living in the camp in Calais, 1,022 of which are alone. There are thousands more in camps across Europe living in unmanageable conditions with little or no support.
Joseph Al Fadhili, who turned six on 20th September, started asking his parents questions about the refugee crisis after watching youngsters on the news go about their daily lives in what is now known as the ‘Jungle’ camp.
The Moorlands Primary School student then took the selfless decision to give away all but one of his birthday presents in order to help those most deprived across The Channel.
Joseph said: “They don’t have any toys and they don’t have a house. I wanted to share my toys with them.”
Joseph’s Mum, Ala Altaie, said: “I have told my children, including Joseph’s two-year-old brother Ali, how the kids in Calais are having a bad time out there and how they’ve lost their things. They don’t have homes anymore and some now have to live in tents.”
Joseph’s dad, Firas Al Fadhili, admitted that he may have ‘spoilt the kids a bit when they were younger’ but was incredibly proud of his son’s kind gesture.
He said: “I always want him to appreciate things. That’s why we wanted to expose him to what was happening.
“Obviously not the violence of it, but the fact that some people in the world have nothing. Joseph asked how he could help because he didn’t have money. So I suggested that he could share his toys and he was more than happy to do so.”
The family have since set up a donation page if people want to give money instead, which has now reached nearly half of the £1,500 target.
Once they have collected all the donations, Joseph wants his dad to take him to Calais in the October half-term so he can hand the toys over himself.
Firas said: “We’re trying to make them understand that they’re lucky. We want them to realise that they can’t take all the things they get for granted – like education, toys and holidays.
“Not everyone is lucky enough to have security in this world. Joseph has been a wonderful boy all his life. He only ever comes back with one toy in the toy shop.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say Joseph speaks good Arabic but he understands it and his cousins speak French, so they may be able to communicate with the children if we do decide to go over there.”
If this story has touched your heart, you can donate to Joseph’s charity page at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/birthday4calais