By Ron Shillingford
A teacher at John Gray High School was so moved by seeing the suffering of Syrians in the war-torn country that he goes to Turkey every summer to help refugees.
Three years ago, Edward “Ted” Todd said he saw too many stories of the suffering in the media of what was happening in Syria and he decided to do something proactive instead of just giving money.
Through social media Mr. Todd found a small group of volunteers called Small Projects Istanbul and contacted them. As a result of that and some fundraising in Cayman, Mr. Todd and his daughter Angeli, drove a van full of education supplies to Turkey from England and ended up at a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border. They raised around $2,000.
“The journey took five days and was worth all the effort to see the happy faces when we delivered the supplies to the children and their families,” he said.
The next year he determined that with an even bigger fundraising effort, more could be achieved and through the efforts of many groups from John Gray High School, St. Ignatius School to Rotary International and also Fidel Murphy’s, around $5,000 was raised.
In fact, the money was able to support a properly equipped community centre for over a year in Istanbul which now supports over 300 Syrian families. That summer Mr. Todd spent five weeks in Turkey helping to prepare the centre and finally when it was finished, teaching and doing support work in the centre.
The journey by road was done in 2014. Since then he flies to Turkey. The road journey was initial publicity to highlight the situation of the refugees.
“This year, again, I have spearheaded another fundraising effort as again I will be in Istanbul for just over two weeks this time,” he said. “Again, communities like St. Ignatius, John Gray, Rotary, Cayman International, Clifton Hunter and Fidel Murphy’s have all supported this cause in different ways. The monies raised go towards providing school supplies, medical supplies and other necessities that a family might need out there.”
Last year Mr. Todd could not do anything as he had to be in England as his mother was not well. He has taught at John Gray for 11 years.
This Thursday, June 29 there will be a fundraiser quiz night at Fidel Murphy’s to which all are welcome. There is a voluntary donation per person of $10 and you need to form a team of anywhere up to six people.
There is a first and second prize kindly donated by Fidel’s and lots of spot prizes generously donated by the Cayman community. The evening starts at 7:30 p.m. So far before the quiz night $10,000 has been raised and Mr. Todd hopes to raise another $1,000.
He added: “If anyone wants to help or support in any way, just contact me through email (email@example.com) or Facebook under my name Edward Ted Todd.”