Show Some Love - hundreds raised for Syrian children

Layla with the roses she was selling.
Layla with the roses she was selling.

A kind-hearted young woman from Syria has been selling red roses for Valentine’s Day to raise money for refugee children from her home country.

Layla Zeitouni (17) is Head Girl at Bearsden Academy, where she became a pupil five years ago.

Layla, who was born in Scotland, lived in Saudi Arabia with her parents until she was five years old and then in Aleppo, Syria, with her mum until she was 12.

Layla’s mum, Sima Marashi, has family in Bearsden and when she brought Layla to visit them five years ago she decided to stay here because the conflict had begun in Syria.

Layla’s American school, The national School of Aleppo, was vandalised just before they came to visit Scotland - the smart boards were all smashed and computers and other equipment was stolen.

And Sima, who was also born in the UK and lived in England for a few years as a child, started to worry about what was going to happen in Syria.

Layla said: “At that time it was still peaceful in Aleppo but we were hearing about trouble in other parts of Syria.

“The bombings had started in other areas and my mum was getting worries about what was happening in Syria.

“She thought we may not be safe if we stayed there, so she decided to bring me to Scotland.”

Layla stays in touch with her friends and family from Syria, all of them have managed to get out of the country since the fighting got worse.

Her great aunt and great grandma remain in one of the safer areas of Aleppo, Shaba, but Layla worries about them because their house was bombed - luckily they were not injured.

And amazingly Layla’s house in Aleppo is still standing despite all the bombing raids in the city.

Layla added: “My friends and family are dotted all around the world now, they are in Damascus, Dubai, America and France and I try to stay in touch with them all with Facetime chats.

“I can’t bear to watch the news about Aleppo, I find it very upsetting to see my home country so totally destroyed by the bombs.

“I wanted to do something to help all the refugee children who are in a desperate situation after losing parents in the conflict.”

Layla’s campaign “Show Some Love” has raised £400 so far which she plans to donate to Save The Children’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

To donate visit www.gofundme.com/Show-Some-Love-Layla or www.savethechildren.org.uk/about-us/emergencies/syria-appeal.