Humanitarian looking for help and support for relief work in Iraq

A relief worker back from a trip to Iraq has spoken out about his experiences there and appealed for help and support for his efforts. 

Humanitarian Ravinder 'Ravi' Singh Sidhu, CEO of Khalsa Aid, returned from Erbil on Sunday after spending a few weeks carrying out relief work. 

Ravi, from Langley, left the UK on August 12, and battled 46-degree heat to help refugees who had fled from their homes because of the ISIS terrorist group. 

The 44-year-old handed out toys to children and said it was 'humbling' when they referred to him as 'Papa Noel' - which translates to 'Father Christmas' - because of his white beard. 

"I bought them some toys, it was such a simple present and they went crazy," he added. 

Ravi said the refugee children, who were originally wary of him and his beard, learnt to trust him as he taught them that not all bearded men are evil. 

The former salesman also spent time helping out at various sites the refugees have fled to, providing clean water and even rewiring electrics in people's homes. 

Ravi said: "I visited several sites, including one where there could be up to 22 families living all in one room. "The situation out there is dire." 

"I spent time redoing the plumbing and gutting as well as rewiring the electrics. "Khalsa Aid also provided sanitation, food and water to the refugees." 

However, Ravi's work in Iraq is far from over as the charity, which has been based in Slough for 15 years, is planning to open a bakery out there within the next few weeks. 

Ravi, who is aiming to return to Iraq as soon as possible, said: "The bakery will provide bread for between 50,000 and 100,000 people. 

"We are appealing to companies and businesses, especially those in Slough, who may want to help and perhaps provide something to go with the bread." 

Ravi is also on the lookout for extra office space here in order to keep up with the demands of his humanitarian work. 

Visit www.khalsaaid.org to donate or to help. 

by Hannah Crouch

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