SISTER SOCIETY x HELP REFUGEES
Help us support Help Refugees in Calais this January
What is the situation?
The Calais ‘Jungle’ hit the headlines in early 2015 when more than 10,000 refugees and migrants made a makeshift camp and began to call it their home.
The men, woman and children fled their countries as they were being ravished by war and are very dangerous and uninhabitable. Mostly young men make up the refugee count as often they are called to fight. After making the dangerous journey by boat, to Calais, they then risked their lives to cross to the UK by any means necessary. This often meant being huddled dangerously on boats or stowed away on lorries.
However the refugee crisis in Calais came to a head in October 2016, when the number of refugees started to rise. The camp highlighted the issue of migrants and refugees around Calais. This led to the French authorities taking action starting to evict and dismantle the camp.
Since the break down of the Calais jungle camp around 1,500 people are now spread out and sleeping in the forests and surrounding areas often with little more than a sleeping bag for protection.
The French authorities have said that they will never let another ‘jungle’ camp happen so they have stepped up attempts to drive out refugees from Calais, with camp evictions in the area running at a record 20 clearances a week.
Refugees often lose their tents, provisions and other possessions during evictions. Reports have recently found that the police have even been using chemical sprays on sleeping individuals and slashed tents and even taken away shoes from children.
There are many charities that currently help with the refugee crisis in Calais. Help Refugees charity has set up a permanent base near the camps and is now home to the donation warehouse and the home of many permanent volunteers.
Their teams distribute thousands of items every week, from 1,000 blankets and sleeping bags, to hundreds of hygiene kits, clothing and countless shoes.
Help Refugee are doing an amazing job, but unfortunately the conditions and situation are so terrible that they are in desperate need for more help and donations.
WHAT ARE WE PLANNING?
Louisa Wild, Ella Gilchrist, Jess English and Sara Cutting AKA Fizzy Snood are planning to drive to the refugee camp in Calais at the end of January. We plan to take a car load of much needed practical items to donate to refugees.
While we are there we will volunteer our time to help with jobs that need doing. These roles include helping to sort through the donations at the warehouse, cooking food in the camp kitchen and going to the jungle camp to hand out supplies and food directly to the refugees that are in need. Louisa has offered her skills as a seamstress to repair clothing and bedding items while she is there as well.
We will also bring positive attitude and hopefully some respite for the permanent volunteers.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
Please support our trip by donating money to our go fund me page! We need to raise £300 to make this trip happen!
After speaking to Maddy one of the warehouse manager at the Calais camp. They confirmed that they would love us to come out to volunteer our time and show our support.
Maddy also said that it’s important that people come out to the camp to see how dire the situation is and how low on supplies and help they are. This way when we come back we can raise more awareness after experiencing what we saw on the ground.
Another factor is that at this time of year, the colder winter months and non school holiday times they don’t get as many volunteers. So… We need to raise £300 to make this happen and to enable us to show our support to the Calais Refugee Camp.
WHAT CAN I DONATE?
As well as donating money to support our trip you can also donate practical items too.
There are many items that are desperately needed in Calais. Unfortunately due to space restrictions at the warehouse there are also items that at this time they can no longer receive.
Please head to the Calais page on our website for the whole list of items that we can and cannot take.
The items do not have to be new, However they must be clean. We can not take anything that’s really worn out or that has lots of holes in. Please be mindful that these are people that already have lost their homes and dignity, donating them shabby, holey or dirty clothes isn’t going to make them feel wonderful.
If you have an item that you want us to take with us to donate then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘Calais donation’ in the subject line. We will then give you directions on where to drop off the item.