As 150 protestors marched outside parliament on Sunday, saying “no to refugees” in Portugal, three trucks loaded with 66 tons of supplies left the country bound for Croatia and Slovenia. The Caravana Aylan Kurdi – named after the Syrian toddler whose dead body shocked the world recently – was loaded with messages of goodwill to people which one donor described as “superheroes”. The supplies should reach their destination within the next few days.
Driven by Portuguese volunteers, the initiative is designed to take food, medicines and supplies – including toys – to refugees held up at closed borders.
Lusa reports how organisers have been overwhelmed by the level of giving.
“It has been a very emotional experience”, Maria Miguel Ferreira told the State news service. “People have been galvanized. There were notes from children, placed in the pockets of donated clothes; toys with messages put inside their boxes. Lots of little gestures that showed an outpouring of humanity.”
The “superhero” message came in a box of shoes from a family, one of whose children had included a model of Mr Incredible. Within the box, the child had written: “You are a superhero. Stay strong.”
Maria Miguel Ferreira is now on the road alongside the caravan, determined to ensure it reaches its destination.
“Our objective is to deliver wherever we’re needed,” she told Lusa. “We are in coordination with the authorities and various NGOs in Croatia and Slovenia, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure that once we get there, we are able to distribute our cargo to the people who need it.”
Aside from the many private people who donated to the caravan, 30 Portuguese companies also got involved, added Lusa.