As Odeth Martinez Aviles tucks into her first ever Christmas dinner she recalls how she wound up in a Glasgow community centre more than 5,000 miles away from home. The 16-year-old asylum seeker and her family were forced to flee El Salvador a year ago after falling victim to the gang violence that runs rife throughout the country. “My father Alfredo saw bad people trying to kill someone in the street and tried to stop them,” Odeth explains. “Then they wanted to kill him too. Our home was not safe for us after that.” Like many other families from the region they packed up their lives and moved abroad in search of safety and a fresh start. Those lucky enough to arrive in Glasgow quickly heard about the Kinning Park Complex, a community centre dedicated to helping vulnerable and isolated people integrate into the local area. With the support of Possible, a charity that brings people together to combat climate change and is supported by The Times Christmas Appeal, the centre helped to raise the £6,500 cost of installing four panels on its roof in only six weeks. The solar cells generate 722kWh a year and have saved the centre hundreds of pounds, which helps to pay for staff, workshop materials and food.
Times 27th Dec 2019 read more »