A CHARITABLE initiative started by an East Lancashire schoolgirl has raised more than £5,000 for Palestinian children.

Young people in Blackburn and across the country have been creating loom bands to provide medical aid for children in the conflict-hit country.

Children aged between five and 14 have taken part in the fundraiser, working weekends and evenings with help from friends and family, making the bands in the colours of the Palestinian national flag – black, white, green and red.

After making their creations, the children have approached local shops, chemists and gone door-to-door selling loom bands at 50p, raising more than £5,000 for charity.

The project was the brain-child of 10-year-old Audley Junior School pupil Maariyah Mulla, whose father, Abduss-amad Mulla, is country dir-ector of Blackburn-based charity, Al-Imdaad Foundation UK.

More than 200 children have taken part in the exercise after the charity shared details of Maariyah’s loom bands on social media, and other children were encouraged to take part.

The funds have been given to Al-Imdaad, which runs a dedicated hospital in Gaza in Palestine.

Since its inception in 2007, more than 15,000 babies have been delivered in the Al-Imdaad Hospital, and projects coordinator of Al-Imdaad Foundation UK Zubair Valim-ulla said: “When we first heard of this idea I thought it was brilliant. It is especially really pleasing to see little children getting involved to help people in need.

“It teaches the importance of charity from a young age with a drive to carry on later.”