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Team member Oz Katerji on his time in the Jungle, Calais

When first asked to write this blog I really struggled thinking about what narrative I could add to the situation unfolding in Calais that would be of benefit. So far the citizen response has been staggering. For all the anti-immigrant rhetoric thrown around in the British press a new poll published in the Guardian revealed that 31% of British people have donated to charities helping refugees in the month since three year-old Aylan Kurdi tragically washed up on the Turkish coast.

When I first decided to help I had heard of a small convoy of aid heading over to Calais from London and wanted to help out. In a matter of days that small convoy turned into a massive warehouse full of donations with thousands of parcels arriving every day and a stream of hundreds of volunteers heading back and forth across the channel to deliver aid to the Calais Jungle refugee camp. A warehouse space had to be rented in Calais to deal with all the donations alongside the fantastic local charity L’Auberge des Migrants. Soon too, that warehouse was overflowing with aid and volunteers arriving daily to help sort and distribute it.

My first time arriving at the Calais camp I felt completely shocked. This was not my first time in a refugee camp, I have been to at least a dozen since the start of the Syrian revolution, some in horrendously desperate conditions sprawling out as far as the eye can see. What shocked me was that this camp closer resembled a Central African slum than it did modern-day Western Europe. How could the French authorities allow the situation to deteriorate to this level? Quite frankly the conditions are inhumane, luckily there is running water and some power but the sanitation facilities are inadequate, the camp frequently floods and it is becoming increasingly overcrowded and polluted. No human should have to live in these conditions. What struck me most about the inhabitants of the camp was their determination, that no matter what was happening to them they would persevere. I undoubtedly witnessed some scenes of desperation and panic among some of the residents, but I also witnessed incredible kindness and humility.

Despite having absolutely nothing the vast majority of the residents I spoke to wanted to invite me for a tea or some food, the desire to share what little they had with people is remarkable. In fact, I would say the most hospitable people I have ever met in my life have been in refugee camps. It’s important to remember that these people don’t want handouts, all they want is their dignity and a chance to live.

The events that unfolded over the next few days were crucial to understanding why our help is so vitally needed to solving this crisis, both domestically and across Europe and the Middle East. Last Saturday a huge demonstration organised by L’Auberge des Migrants took place with a march from the Jungle camp towards the ferry port drew thousands of refugees, migrants, aid workers and solitary activists from across the EU.

It was incredible to see how far the march spread, from horizon to horizon, refugees and activists walking hand in hand in solidarity. The mood was both jovial and defiant, I could see the hope in many of the faces of the young migrants on the march, as if the authorities were watching and could hear their demands. The sad truth is nobody is listening, not in France and not in Britain.

Over the last few weeks more Syrians have started arriving in Calais, the Jungle mainly houses Iraqis, Afghanis, Eritreans and a host of refugees from other conflict and poverty-stricken nations. A group of about 300 Syrians had set up camp near the ferry terminal and did not want to reside in the jungle. Honestly it’s hard to blame them for that. I think many believed that their situation was temporary, the hope that having traveled so far that the last few miles to their family and friends in England would be the easiest and that their stay in Calais would be a short one.

I met this young Syrian man at the Syrian encampment, he helped us distribute sleeping bags and jackets to the young men that had just arrived, the vast majority of them had already escaped barrel bombings, sectarian death squads, treacherous seas and racist police to arrive this far. The young man helped keep his comrades calm and in line, many people who haven’t ever worked with refugees before don’t realise how difficult it is for people form an orderly queue in a situation as difficult as that. Fights and riots can break out easily, people when pushed to their limits can often snap. The man helped keep everyone calm and distribute things to those most in need. Despite the fact that he clearly needed a warmer jacket he kept nothing for himself, handing everything that was given to him to those most in need. Afterwards he took me to one side and asked me what was happening in the UK and when they were going to open the borders for them. After I explained to him that the British government wasn’t going to do that he looked visibly distraught. He paused for a moment and then smiled defiantly, “I will see you in London” he said.

Three days prior to this, his group had tried to jump onto the euro tunnel tracks and one man was killed instantly as he touched one of the high voltage wires, they had seen the smoke rising from his body. After everything these people have been through to get this far, no matter how dangerous those last few miles get, no cage in the world will stop them from trying. History will not remember the actions of our leaders kindly. Days later, I saw this man again, in a photo of him cowering and crying as French police broke up the camp violently. They tear gassed and beat the residents, tore down their tents and frog-marched them to the jungle, most of them had to leave all their possessions behind. It is not acceptable to treat human beings like this, the French authorities should be truly ashamed of themselves. The police continued to strip parts of the camp over the course of the day and riots inevitably broke out. The situation is, frankly speaking, disgraceful. While the citizen response has been incredible, our respective governments have acted appallingly.

However our citizen response is also not without fault. Over the course of the few days I spent in Calais, many groups turned up to distribute goods. Some of those people turned up in cars packed full of unsorted clothing, opened their doors and triggered riots in the camp. Some of the people that turned up were poverty tourists, treating the camp like it was some sort of human safari. One of the vans that turned up ran over a tent injuring two people inside before driving off oblivious to the damage they had caused. Boxes on boxes of useless items still arrive on a daily basis to the warehouses across Calais.

I implore those reading this post, we do urgently need your help, but don’t just load up a van full of things and drive down to Calais. The amount of man-power needed to sort through donations is preventing us from delivering aid to people, inexperience in dealing with these sorts of situations is leading people to causing more trouble than good. Piles and piles of soaking abandoned clothing are appearing up and down the highway where people have failed to donate appropriate items to those most in need. If you want to help, please, donate your time or your money. L’Auberge des Migrants are trying to raise enough money to build more permanent shelters for these people, instead of spending money on a new tent, that £100 would be much better served by building an accommodation unit. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been donated to various little groups across the country, if we really want to help we need to start pooling this money together and working towards a united goal.

Please, don’t just turn up in Calais, get in touch with the people on the ground and arrange something that way. Warehouses in the UK still need help too, on top of that lobbying MPs and domestic activism will go a long way to helping find permanent housing for those currently stranded across the channel. I will leave you now with the words of one of the refugees who addressed the crowd at last weekend’s protest, because quite honestly the most important thing in this situation is to listen to the voices of those we are trying to help: “I speak for all of my neighbours living in the jungle when I say that we did not choose to leave our countries and make the dangerous journey here by choice. I and all the other migrants here would love to stay in our countries but we have been forced to leave.” Remember, these people are human beings and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, the only way we can do that is by working together.

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‘The devastating moment when French Police raided a makeshift camp’ – Philli on the ground in Calais

When I woke up and looked out the window on Monday, I could see police were blocking the road. I realised immediately that it was because they were in the process of ‘removing’ the Syrians who had set up their camp on a small piece of grass, just around the corner. There were 150 of Syrians in tents, on a piece of land which must have been smaller than a tennis court. We had heard rumours this was going to happen soon, but hoped it was another false alarm.


The Syrian people were woken by the police forcing them out, shaking their tents and spraying them, half asleep, with tear gas. By the time they were dressed and standing beside the now unoccupied tents, the Syrians (including women and children of all ages) were being herded like animals by at least a hundred policemen who were wearing full riot gear, towards the main camp. The camp which we now, somewhat uncomfortably, refer to as ‘the jungle’. It’s about 6km away.

The police wouldn’t let us past to help anyone with their belongings, or to give lifts to those less able to walk. The road was blocked so we just looked on in tears watching them marching away in front of us, dehumanised after their dawn raid.

With a handful of Syrians who had been away from their tents when the police came, about 10 of us took down all the tents and cleared everyone’s things into bags. The policemen and rubbish collectors just watched. They gave us an hour to take all we could. The Syrians had managed to carry with them the absolute essentials, things like papers, money, phones etc. Tents, beddings, clothes, shoes, food and toiletries remained. Unfortunately, later, the Eritreans would be less fortunate. Their camp was cleared while most of them were out, early in the afternoon. People lost everything. Men were wandering around where the tents had been an hour before looking totally dumbstruck. All their belongings, and many of their hopes for asylum, had been swept away as if they didn’t matter. The good thing is we knew we had a warehouse full of amazing generously donated clothes, blankets, tents and sleeping bags, but we felt had to show solidarity and respect for the make-shift homes that the Syrians had created for themselves. Everyone was so focused on the task. We worked silently. Except to ask each other for scissors or bin bags. I worked with an older Syrian man who took so much care in dismantling each tent, helping me when I couldn’t manage a knot. Occasionally I wondered what was going through his mind. I couldn’t even begin to imagine. Mostly, I just got on with the task in hand, grateful that we were working as a team even though one person could have done it alone.  So we took almost every tent down (about 40). Afterwards, when we were loading the van up, one of the other guys who had been involved in the process thanked me for helping the Syrian people. It had been such a tiny gesture in the scheme of what they must have been through. I almost felt ashamed. We are so much luckier than we realise.

In the end we took everything to a place where the Syrians could come to collect them, close to the entrance of the camp. Once the police had finished clearing the space the Eritreans had occupied we were able to get into the camp to find the new Syrian arrivals, and get them to follow us to retrieve their belongings. Some found a few of their possessions, but there was an enormous pile to sort through so many just collected a new sleeping bag, tent, mat and tarpaulin from the truck. Other refugees were crowding around the pile of rescued stuff too, seeing the opportunity to find some useful things. It was hard to tell who was looking for their own things, and who was trying their luck. There were some scuffles. You can’t blame anyone for that.

Just as all this was going on the rain began to pour, soaking those waiting in the queue at the truck, as well as those heading off into the camp to find a spot to pitch their new ‘home’ in the ‘jungle’. The camp which they have deliberately, and  actively, avoided by staying in the town.  One man refused to get his tent, he said he couldn’t handle any more of this. He was ashamed of his situation. So far from being his fault or his doing, in my guilty British eyes. We cried together for a while sitting on the pavement in the rain. He must have been in his 30s,  he spoke almost no English. He used to be a policeman in Syria. He had inhaled tear gas in the morning, so he was struggling to breathe. His 17 year old brother had been arrested during the raid in the morning and he didn’t know where he was. He was begging me to help him contact him. These are just the most recent devastations for him. And for the Syrian people. Every so often I remember that, in the midst of all the action. What these people have been through before they even got there.

The police arrived to clear the area where we had deposited all the Syrian’s possessions – having blocked their route into the camp until just 15 minutes before. While waiting, some had put up pop up tents to stay dry while they waited for their friends and for the road to clear. The police dragged these away, wielding their batons, a harsh contrast to the resigned demeanours of the Syrians. A few minutes later I spotted the former policemen again, he was already smiling. Then, just as I started to walk towards him, his brother appeared out of nowhere (probably a police van).  I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt as happy about anything, as I felt seeing their reunion.

A group of Afghan women and children who arrived in the melee of the displaced, the rain and greyness, were quickly sent to a hotel in Calais for the night by L’Auberge des Migrants. They are the  incredible, Calais-based grass roots charity who we have teamed up with on the ground. There were 5 children between the ages of 11 months. This kind of day is shockingly commonplace for the l’Auberge des Migrants and the other French organisations who have been working with refugees in Calais for many years.

As things were quietening down, two lovely Afghan chaps insisted we sit with them (on plastic chairs, which had appeared out of nowhere on the roadside) and demanded a selfie; cue groans from Nico and I when our exhausted faces popped up on the screen. It had been quite a long day. A cheeky photo-bomber popped up, with his pallet. He was happy with his work. We all laughed, and that felt so good.

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Al Jazeera – ‘British grass-roots groups step up aid to refugees while government stalls’

From Al Jazeera

British grass-roots groups step up aid to refugees while government stalls

Michael Sheldon has been volunteering for a grass-roots relief organization in London, called Help Refugees, since he heard about them through social media last week.

“I was getting very frustrated with the government’s attitude [toward] refugees,” said Sheldon, a 59-year-old British actor, as he packed crates of donations, filled with food and shoes and clothes, in a storage facility in northern London.

Help Refugees was founded only three weeks ago, but it has already raised $87,000 in cash donations and filled 14 storage rooms with goods to be delivered all over Europe. It is one of a multitude of spontaneous movements that have sprung up as concerned Britons try to compensate for their more reluctant government.

Please click here to read more of this article

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Stories from Kos by Tom Sabbadini

After a summer of shocking images on my television screen and upsetting reports in the press, I was honoured to have the opportunity to travel with my friend Heydon to the island of Kos, Greece where we took some of your generous donations directly to the people most in need. Heydon has already given an update on some of the things we were able to do thanks to your support.

I thought it might be useful to tell you a bit more about some of the refugees who I met whilst there. They reinforced my conviction that these are people who are anything but a swarm of economic opportunists, as many would have us believe. They are people with heart-breaking stories of hardship and bravery, who should be held up as testimonies of the resilience of the human spirit.

Understandably, the plight of Syrians has been at the heart of this migrant crisis, but in Kos I found a real diversity of people who were escaping war and persecution in their home countries, including Afghans, Nigerians and Pakistanis. I offered these people sleeping bags, shoes and rucksacks and what I took away were moving accounts of how they had ended up in Kos. Here are two of the many stories I heard.

Asad

Asad, 28, is from the outskirts of Lahore in Pakistan. He has a wife and 2 young children. He told me that due to his refusal to join the Taliban, he and his family were subjected to violent attacks and death threats. They were forced into abandoning their home, living in hiding and Asad was no longer able to work.

Asad (photo credit Tom Sabbadini)
Asad (photo credit Tom Sabbadini)

Eventually Asad was left with no choice but to flee, hoping that once settled abroad he would be able to bring his family too. At the Iranian border he enlisted the help of human traffickers, or ‘agents’ as he referred to them.

He travelled over land, mostly by foot, for thousands of kilometres to reach the Turkish border. Along the way he met others also trying to reach Europe. He said at times they were so scared of being discovered they spent days at a time in forests, eating leaves and drinking water from ponds. It was winter and temperatures at night regularly dropped close to freezing.

They made three unsuccessful attempts to cross the border into Turkey by night. Each time the Turkish army, Asad says, opened fire on them. The fourth time, on their hands and knees, they managed to find a way through. It cost Asad a total of US$500 to get to this point, paid to agents by his father who sold land and borrowed money in order to afford it.

Ibrar

Like others I spoke to, Asad’s 23 year old friend Ibrar’s journey through Iran did not go quite so smoothly. Whilst crossing the Iranian mountains his group was attacked by armed bandits who held them hostage in a cave for several weeks, regularly beating them. He was forced to call family in Pakistan and ask for ransom money to be sent over. However, Ibrar told me that his family in Pakistan had little financial means, so his captors put a sharpened stick through his left eye as a warning sign that worse was to come if they did not find a way. His elder brother managed to wire over US$100, which resulted in Ibrar’s release, but he has permanently lost his vision in one eye.

Ibrar (photo credit Tom Sabbadini)
Ibrar (photo credit Tom Sabbadini)

Eventually both Asad and Ibrar reached Istanbul where they found employment in a construction company, which is where they first met.

Along with several other young Pakistani men, they worked there for the following three months, 12 hours a day, seven days a week with no holiday. They each spent 120 Turkish Lira (£25) per month on rent to sleep on the floor of a flat with 10 other men. At the end of the three months they were paid just 1000 Turkish Lira (£210) in total, which was less than a quarter of what they had been promised. It didn’t even cover their expenses.

Asad says it became clear there was no future for any of them in Turkey and so they decided once again to take their lives into their own hands and attempt the journey to Greece. They pooled together their savings and bought a small dingy with an engine. None of them had ever steered a boat before or knew how to swim. The shopkeeper where they bought it gave them a 5-minute lesson and it was decided that Asad would steer it as he had driven tractors in Pakistan.

Asad told me they had been assured the journey to Kos was only one to two hours, but not long into the crossing the sea became extremely rough and threatened to capsize their boat. They had a number for the Greek coastal guards, which they frantically tried to call from their mobiles, but it was out of service. They were wearing life jackets but Ibrar told me they genuinely believed they would die. They prayed and many of them openly wept. But Asad kept a steady hand and three hours later they reached solid ground on Kos.

Since their arrival they have been sleeping on the beach and sharing two tents between 15. They have been relying on handouts of food from tourists, who they say have treated them kindly. Their plan was to travel up to Athens and then onto Hungary (the border was still open at this point). Asad told me he hopes to eventually make it to Italy where he has a friend and would take any work possible. Ibrar dreams of coming to England as he hears it is a beautiful and welcoming country. He hopes to find employment as a barber.

See more photos from Kos on my FlickR page 

 

Featured image: Men at Kos refugee camp by Tom Sabbadini

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An Update From Lliana On The Past Week as Our Aid Reaches Greece/ Macedonia & Calais

Dear all, just want to take a moment to update you all of some of our activities but most of all to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all the donations, volunteers, help, love and support you’ve all given us.

This last week has been so incredible, and best of all we’ve seen some real tangible results to all the hard work that’s been going since this all began (with small ambitions but high hopes…)

Last Thursday we packed up and waved goodbye to an Arctic Lorry full to the brim of food, shoes, rucksacks, toiletries, baby food, nappies, tents, sleeping bags and everything else we were told was desperately needed on the Greece/Macedonia border where thousands of people (refugees) are.

I won’t pretend there weren’t hiccups (from banks stopping payments, to suddenly being faced with no pallets…something I didn’t even know existed more than a week ago)…but with a strong team, some incredibly kind companies/brands donating (Rogers Removals, Raja Packaging and Tescos for the emergency packaging, Dominos Pizzas for feeding us all and the ever generous Big Yellow Storage) and most of all about 40 of the best volunteers ever, we did it! Waving the lorry off alongside Josie, Dawn and all of our amazing team was a moment I’ll never forget. Our wonderful lorry driver arrived at it’s destination on Thursday where…..a Greek kick boxing team met it to unpack it all into a waiting store room (I know….you couldn’t write this stuff!)

We will continue to post photos and updates from the border where our aid has arrived, since one of our team (Heydon Prowse) flew out there to oversee operations.

Speaking of which, last Wednesday Heydon flew to the Greek island of Kos, where he used some of the money you donated to buy food and shoes to give out to the refugees arriving by boat with nothing which you can read all about in Heydon’s Guardian article (see previous post)

Meanwhile our plans for Calais continue. We now have Ash on board (who once ran logistics for a women’s prison…no biggy..) running the logistics our end (for free of course, everyone’s a volunteer here), and this week we sent off another lorry (thank you Theme Traders!) to the warehouse in Calais which we just signed for alongside the amazing charity there, Auberge des Migrants. Phew.

We have all spent time out in the Jungle this week, continuing to make friends, connections, and plans, and we will update you on that all very shortly, but for now huge love and thanks going to Philli who continues to work so very hard out in Calais, alongside Maya and Francois from Auberge des Migrants.

There’s so so much more to tell you, but for now we just wanted to make sure you know what’s happening our end and the progress being made. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts. None of this would be happening without all of YOU

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Our Aid Reaches Greece – Heydon Prowse’s Article In The Guardian

Following some monumental efforts here in the UK with our amazing team of volunteers it was heartening to see our aid and help reaching those that needed it most in Greece and Macedonia.

After making vital contact with aid workers on the ground in Kos, one of our team (film maker and activist Heydon Prowse) jumped on the first plane to the Greek island to use some of the money you donated to buy food & shoes and distribute it to families arriving off boats from Syria and beyond. Leaving fellow team member Tom behind to continue the good work Heydon then head to Idomeni (on the border of Greece & Macedonia) to meet the arctic lorry load of emergency aid we packed up and sent from here in London.

Heydon Prowse wrote about some of his experiences and the people he met along the way in The Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/16/refugees-greece-supplies-respect-treated-like-humans

Congrats to Heydon and all the team for a successful first mission, with so much more to be done!

 

Image: Little boy in Idomeni with his new shoes – photo by James Fisher

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Heydon’s article in the Guardian – ‘Refugees need the supplies I brought. But respect is just as critical’

From the Guardian

Refugees need the supplies I brought. But respect is just as critical

Two weeks ago some friends and I decided to take supplies out to the refugees in Europe. We didn’t expect much of a response, suspecting that many in our nation seemed to believe the thousands of people risking their lives to get to Europe were doing so solely to ruin their package holidays.

A week later we had 30 volunteers loading 11 storage rooms’ worth of supplies on to an articulated lorry bound for the Greek-Macedonian border. As a fellow volunteer and I flew to the island of Kos with some of the £56k we’d raised I had a sudden, overwhelming feeling of love for my fellow humans (something few people experience on a Ryanair flight).

Our seven bags of supplies incurred no extra charge from a sympathetic check-in guy despite being 20kg over. When we got there we were met by two incredible German volunteers who took us to the main refugee camp – appropriately in a derelict hotel – that was being boarded up by the police as we arrived.

Please click here to read the rest of this excellent article.

 

Image: A Syrian girl with food handouts in Kos, photograph by Heydon Prowse

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Lliana and Dawn on the Huffington Post – ‘How You Can Help the People in Calais’

You can read the original on the Huffington Post here.

How You Can Help the People in Calais

In 1921 a little girl named Luba escaped with her family from the pogroms of Russia by boarding a ship that would take her half way across the world. Many didn’t make it to the end of that journey. Some got sick and died on the way. Others drowned when the fleet they were travelling with was hit by a storm. But, when the few that survived finally made it to their new country they were greeted with open arms. They were welcomed, helped, and made to feel safe.

That little girl was Lliana’s grandmother, and her story isn’t unique. Look back in your own family history, or that of your friends and there are bound to be similar tales of migration, survival and new beginnings. After all, Britain is largely an island of first, second or third generation immigrants, and it is all the better and richer for it. And so, it has been with a heavy hearts that we’ve watched the way our country has reacted over the past few months to the global refugee crisis we are now facing.

The British government, so happy to send aid to countries far far away (and to send the military when it suits us as well) shows a whole different attitude when the “problem” is actually on our doorsteps. Our prime minister, pandering to domestic politics, refers to the men, women and children living in dire conditions in the makeshift refugee camp in Calais as a “swarm”. Factions of the media consistently dehumanise those trying to enter Britain, as if risking your life to try and create a better one for yourself and your family is somehow something shameful. But it is us who should feel ashamed. We are facing a global crisis, with over 60million people displaced from their homes (more than any time since World War II), and whilst Germany welcomes 30,000 Syrian refugees with banners and cheers, Britain, one of the richest countries in the world, reluctantly pledges to take in just 500. And lets not forget we have played a significant role in the unrest of many of the countries these people are fleeing from.

So, whilst our media fuels the fears of the masses with scaremongering tactics and our government lamely looks on, the people of Britain have begun to take matters into their own hands. Charities, organisations and individuals have sprung up and stepped forward to help in any way they can. Our inspirational friends Tom & Shizuka travelled to Calais to do whatever they could to ease the suffering there and returned with incredible tales – of the animated and intelligent Sundanese student who had been so excited to come to Britain because “he heard that they were friends of Sudan” but now wanted to give up because he heard “the British and their government hate us”. Of the young man who thought Britain would welcome him and his family because “Britain had been a colony in his country for 200 years”. Of the children who have survived unimaginable horrors still laughing and playing football, despite being now forced to live in conditions not fit for vermin.

The fact is many of the people living in Calais are well educated. Most speak at least two languages, some are doctors, others teachers. All simply want the opportunity to work hard and better their lives and those of their families (despite the media’s fear mongering headlines 93% of benefits claimants are born and bred Brits). All must be tenacious, ambitious and savvy to have even survived this far (just the kind of driven people who I believe would be an asset to Britain). But… this isn’t about politics. This isn’t even about immigration and whether Britain should allow more people into the UK. Whatever your stance on migration, its irrelevant. This is about a humanitarian crisis happening right in front of us. There are thousands of people living in Calais right now. People without food or shelter. People being treated without dignity and being forced to live it terrible conditions. People escaping from war or poverty. And whilst others decide their fate (and their ultimate countries of residence) it is our duty, as fellow human beings, to do what we can to ease some of their suffering and meet their basic human needs.

How has it taken the image of a dead child, face down in the sand, for so many people to realise they have a heart? The pictures of poor little Aylan Kurdi were heart wrenching, but maybe the saddest part of it is how many young lives have been lost that seemingly had no impact at all. That’s the harshest tragedy imaginable. It’s time to take action and stop this.

Ourselves (Lliana and Dawn) together with our friend Josie Naughton (all of us, as it turns out, British born children or spouses of “migrants” ourselves) have set up #HelpCalais (now expanding to #HelpRefugees) alongside Tom & Shizuka and the response so far has been incredible. We have been inundated non stop with offers of help, volunteers, donations, and words of encouragement.

Turns out most of the British public actually want to help, and are far more compassionate than our press and government paint us to be.

We will be returning to Calais (and hopefully going on to Greece and Macedonia) with a convoy of vans and trucks stuffed full of essentials on the 17 September and if you’d like to help too there are tons of ways you can get involved too.

You can give to our justgiving page, order items off our Amazon Wish List, do an online food shop, or even just send us a drawing/ message of hope and solidarity for us to distribute in the refugee camp (perhaps ask your child to send in a drawing?)

Lliana knows how lucky she was that hergrandmother was treated with dignity and kindness when she was an 11-year-old refugee, and I hope that if Britain ever faced a disaster we too would be greeted with open arms. Let’s hope that never happens, but let’s also help those it is happening to now in any way we can.

You can donate at our Justgiving page here: –https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/kentforcalais

Our Amazon wish list is here.

Follow Lliana and Dawn on Twitter: @LlianaBird and @hotpatooties

 

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