Guyra's Adventist Drought and Relief Association donate 'baby baskets' to Armidale's Ezidi refugee parents

HUMANITARIAN: Guyra ADRA members sewing quilts and making the baskets for the new Ezidi families. Photo supplied.
HUMANITARIAN: Guyra ADRA members sewing quilts and making the baskets for the new Ezidi families. Photo supplied.

Guyra locals have donated 'baby baskets' to four Ezidi refugee couples in Armidale who became parents in the last couple of months.

The Adventist Disaster and Relief Association provided the eight new parents with plastic washing baskets full of hand-sewn blankets and quilts, little suits, nappies, and bath toys for the baby; and toothbrushes, soap, hand towels, and hygiene items for the mother.

ADRA Op Shop manageress Helen Turnham saw an ad on Facebook that Ezidi parents needed baby car seats - which her shop was able to supply.

She asked about the parents' situation, and realised that they fit the organisation's criteria for humanitarian aid.

"They were close to us, in a small country town," Helen said. "We just felt as a committee we could help them by doing the baskets."

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Helen delivered the baskets to the Ezidis through volunteer Sue Vile to give out before each birth.

"[They're] very good to help another people and us," father Hadi Simo Khaleel said.

FAMILY: Hadi Simo, Hadiya, and Felix Khaleel. Photo: Nicholas Fuller

FAMILY: Hadi Simo, Hadiya, and Felix Khaleel. Photo: Nicholas Fuller

"Having a baby is an expensive business, and they're just trying to settle in and find their feet," Sue said. "It's a gesture from the local community that they're welcome."

Hadi and his wife Hadiya were the first Ezidi parents; their baby was born in July - aptly named Felix (Latin for "successful, lucky, or happy".)

"I've never been happier [than when] the child came," Hadi said.

When they arrived in Australia from Iraq 10 months ago, the couple decided to start a family.

"It's an indication when they start having kids," Settlement Services International volunteer Sue said, "that they're actually feeling comfortable and safe."

Photo supplied.

Photo supplied.

"We're very happy in Australia," Hadi said. "We have the same rights as Australian people."

"[Raising a child] is very easy in Australia," Hadiya said. "In my country, life with a baby [would be] very difficult."

ADRA will make more baby baskets for Ezidi parents. They also plan to run courses to help people affected by drought recover from depression.

The Ezidi community are also looking for a venue they can call their own for gatherings, sad and happy occasions, mourning and celebrations - maybe even weddings.

"It's pretty difficult to find something that's big enough," Sue said. "If anyone has any ideas, that would be good!"