THOUSANDS of people have fled the horrors of war-torn Syria since the civil war began.

They have been forced into refugee camps in Jordan, Iraq and Turkey and their plight has prompted Leigh schoolgirl Ella Masri to take action.

The 16-year-old Bedford High School pupil will spend her two week Easter holiday in the region’s biggest refugee camp, the Zaatari camp in Jordan to help the 144,000 people living there.

“I visited the capital of Syria, Damascus, in 2008 when my mother was studying Arabic Literature there. To me it was a magical, vibrant and exciting place,” Ella said.

“It was a beautiful city full of wonderful things to see and do and full of friendly, happy and welcoming people. Now it seems all that has gone and the entire country has been ruined by the war.”

“When I saw what was happening I felt I had to do something to help the people who are suffering. For me it is the plight of the children that is particularly distressing. Many of them have been forced to flee their homes and are now orphans.”

The Year 11 student will volunteer with the charity Helping Refugees in Jordan and has funded her flight and accommodation herself but wants to raise £2,000 to help buy equipment for the refugees.

She is holding several fundraisers at her school including a car wash which was held on Monday to raise the money.

“I am a bit nervous about the trip and what I might find while I am out there but I am also keen to get there and to help out. My parents and family are supporting me and we have friends in the region that will also be able to help me when I arrive,” she said.

For more information and to support Ella's appeal, visit