13 photos show a heartwarming welcome waiting for refugees in Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland is welcoming its new Syrian residents home with arms wide open.
The U.K. is accepting 20,000 Syrian refugees throughout the next five years as part of its Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, as BBC News reported. And on Dec. 15, 2015, the very first group of 11 families (51 individuals) arrived in Belfast.
From the looks of it, the families received quite the warm welcome.
Because, as is the case when welcoming any new neighbors to your 'hood, there's a few things you should provide, like...
1. Welcome signage.
There's nothing better than a colorful sign to let you know you've finally arrived.
In this case, the sign was in the special welcome center in Belfast, where the families will be staying until they find more permanent homes.
2. Cozy sleeping quarters are vital too.
Pro tip: A splash of color on one wall can only help brighten someone's day. (And if anyone's day could use a little brightening, it's someone whose life has been uprooted by war.)
3. And cards. Cute greeting cards are mandatory.
These were made by local schoolchildren, excited to welcome and greet their new neighbors.
4. ... Seriously, you can never have too many cards.
5. Also, make sure the fridge is kept stocked.
These refugees lived in unstable, dangerous circumstances, waiting for some permanence and safety for months (sometimes, even years). They deserve a cold drink.
And make sure the clocks are ticking accurately, too.
6. And have holiday decorations on display.
I mean, even if you don't celebrate Christmas, I think anyone can appreciate a festive Christmas tree.
7. That includes this adorable Christmas angel.
Let's say it together: Awww.
8. Don't forget to have plenty of seating available.
(OK maybe a little more seating for the next round of guests.)
9. Especially couch seating with soft pillows. (Yes, please.)
For folks who've traveled thousands of miles to make it to the U.K., a comfy seat goes a long way.
10. And, of course, useful kits that cover the basics.
Emergency multilingual phrasebook? Check.
For families who've had everything stripped away from them, little things, like soap and toothbrushes — things many of us take for granted — are much appreciated.
11. And toys.
12. ... Lots and lots of toys.
13. Just like with cute greeting cards, you can never have too many toys.
After all, playing games and being creative may just help children find relief after they've seen the brutal effects of war.
What these families have been through is unimaginable. They need our help.
There are more than 4.3 million Syrian refugees who've been severely affected by conflict in their country according to the UNHCR. That's why — instead of banning Muslims from entering the U.S. out of fear, or building walls to keep immigrants out — we should be finding ways to aid those most affected by terrorism in the Middle East.
(By the way, if you want to help a refugee child in need, here's one way you can do it.)
I gotta hand it to those folks over in Belfast — they know how to be neighborly.
They must have taken a hint from Canada.