Blog

We’re supporting the Kempsons – providing shelter for vulnerable refugees families at the Hope Centre in Lesvos

With the Greek ferry strikes taking their toll the refugee camps in Lesvos are filling up rapidly as refugees are unable to leave the island.

Help Refugees have been assisting the Hope Centre project (run by the Kempsons) in renovating an old hotel to be used as shelter for vulnerable families arriving on Lesvos.

The centre is far from ready but with more boats arriving we are making room for people to stay the night here, they will all be provided with a hot meal, clean clothes and shelter and a warm place to sleep for the night.

Renovating the Hope Centre in Lesbos (5)

Renovating the Hope Centre in Lesbos (3)

Renovating the Hope Centre in Lesbos (6)


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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Your funds reduce fire risk in the Calais camp by buying wind up lamps and fire extinguishers

Nights in Calais are cold and dark and many were resorting to candles and small fires to keep the wooden shelters we helped provide for them warm and light. This resulted in many accidental fires, destroying shelters, causing injuries and risking lives. (You may remember this report on a fire in the camp in November.)

Help Refugees responded to this fire risk by providing 2,300 wind up lamps – enough for every shelter in Calais – to prevent use of candles at night. We also provided over 200 fire extinguishers and fire blankets and distributed them around the camp.

We are delighted to say that despite numerous fires (causing several serous injuries and burning down over 40 shelters) in November and December, since we implemented these new changes there have been very few accidental fires, zero injuries caused by fire and no shelters burnt down.

Your donations make this possible. Please continue to support our work here: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/helprefugees

Some photos of the extinguishers in the camp –

Fire extinguishers provided in the Calais camp (1)

Fire extinguishers provided in the Calais camp (2)
Fire extinguishers provided in the Calais camp (4)


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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A sneak peak at one of the delicious meals served up by the Calais Kitchen

We share an update last week on the amazing work being done by Leon and the Calais Kitchen team, who feed five thousand people with hot meals every day. Here’s a photo of the yummy fresh veg and curry being served up in communities across the camp in Calais yesterday on a beautifully sunny day. Your donations make these meals possible!


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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Volunteer organisations, such as Starfish and Skipchen, vital in Moria on Lesvos

This Huffington Post article about the refugee crisis in Moria highlights how vital volunteers and grassroots groups are.

We are very proud to support Starfish, and to have fully funded and worked alongside the The Bristol Skipchen: Food Rescue team on the Lesvos Skipchen project mentioned, both of which are mentioned in the article. Skipchen serve thousands of meals every day to refugees in Moria Camp – this is your donations hard at work and making a difference where it is most needed. Thank you!

From the Huffington Post

Moria: When UN Camp Failed, Volunteers Built Their Own

And so it went on, it was and is its own animal. This cooperative of volunteers has done what UNHCR failed to coordinate NGOs to achieve for months: They clothe wet people on arrival; They give them cheaply produced food and chai; They explain what the registration process is, why they have been brought to Moria. There is a doctor 24 hours a day.

No one is paid. Everything they distribute is donated.

Please click here to read more.


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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Risa’s video about volunteering in Calais

Here’s a lovely fun video made by Risa who came to volunteer in the Calais warehouse all about what volunteers should expect, why volunteers are in the camp and how things work. Please share and enjoy!


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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An illustration of our priority items for the camps in Calais and Dunkirk

A lovely visual of our priority items for the camps in Calais and Dunkirk. If you can donate in Calais please email calaisdonations@gmail.com and visit the Latest Needs section for more details. Huge thank you to the wonderful Sam Dabb and her husband Matt for the lovely illustration.


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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Help Refugees funds medical tent and equipment for Starfish in Lesvos

The thousands of refugees arriving daily on the shores of Lesvos often need immediate medical attention.  People arrive with hypothermia, having swallowed water, with crushed and broken limbs and with cardiac issues.  Usually they are raced to the overcrowded local hospital or to NGO medical centres.  This week that’s all changed.  Help Refugees have donated ‘a pop up hospital’ to the fantastic  Starfish.  It’s actually an inflatable heated tent.  It can be erected within 15 minutes and now at last serious medical treatment can be administered in privacy on the beaches.  We know this is a game changer for the medics working is Lesvos and a we hope it will be a life saver too.

Starfish are based in Molyvos and care for refugees rescued by the coastguard.  They meet boats, provide immediate care such as emergency blankets, food, water and dry clothes.  They also help refugees travel to the registration camps in Mytilini and assist with the registration process.

003 tent Molyvos

007 tent Molyvos

015 tent Molyvos

017 tent Molyvos


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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Amazing shelter progress in Calais camp – only 230 freezing tents left

An uplifting update from our Calais build team! Working with the communities, our co-ordinators on the ground have identified just 230 occupied tents left in the camp that we need to build shelters for. This is an amazing accomplishment as the winter is truly starting to set in and the nights are well below freezing. Shelter and a place to call your own is so vital for people living in these conditions.

It is thanks to your support that we have come this far! Your donations have built these shelters.

Dr Mohammed is one of those living in a shelter in the Calais camp. This was how he described it –

We are so grateful to have these shelters to live in while we are in the jungle. A shelter is better than a tent for many reasons, firstly it’s more protective from the cold and rain, and secondly it keeps us away from the rats and the mud. It’s physically easier to enter, allowing us to keep our dignity which is one of the most important things for our happiness, and we are always so happy to have the locks to keep ourselves and our belongings safe.

To help us get the final people out of frost covered tents and into an insulated shelter please donate and share: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/shelter-building-calais

These photos by Rob Pinney show the build team hard at work.

Calais Build Team hard at work, photo by Rob Pinney (1)

Calais Build Team hard at work, photo by Rob Pinney (2)


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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Miss Magpie’s illustration captures the soul of the Calais Women’s Centre

Illustrator Miss Magpie Fashion Spy posted this beautiful message and drawing capturing the Calais Women’s Center. She eloquently sums up the boost to self esteem the women get from the centre and her drawings remove the need for intrusion and sometimes unwelcome cameras. Help Refugees are so proud to support them in their work.


 

Last Saturday I had the honour of spending the morning at the Women’s Centre in the Calais Jungle. It was a special and emotional time. The Centre is basically a big shed, set in the middle of squalor and fear but it offers so much. The amazing volunteers (some of who live here because they simply can’t face leaving the children and women alone) covered the toys with blankets and made the room as warm as possible. Then volunteers set up stations for the women. Threading, massage, a nail area. This may seem frivolous in such a place, but I know how I can feel more positive and confident I feel when my hair is freshly dyed and my skin looks good and I feel clean.

Sometimes a warm bath can just be a lifesaver, or a new lipstick, a new pair of earrings. Sometimes a coffee with a good friend is all it takes. These woman have no access to showers, they can’t wash. They don’t have clothes to choose from. And they are women like us. Some are highly educated, they know what it’s like to have a house and a car and go for lunch and wonder if they should get a fringe cut or if a new style of jeans will suit them. And then they find themselves fleeing persecution and stuck in Calais. Many of them don’t sleep, and some suffer from trauma as a result of their harsh journey across Europe.

It was incredible to be in a group of women, British, German, Eritrean, Syrian, Sudanese, Iraq, Iranian, Afghan etc and just have this feeling of solidarity. I can’t help but think that us women could sort this world out given the chance. Obviously warm clothes / shoes / blankets are the most important thing right now. But if this post strikes a chord with you then please send things so that these women’s relaxation days can continue. Nail varnish, remover, cotton pads, almond oil, coconut oil.

Here’s a direct fundraising link for the centre. https://www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/junglewomenscentre

If you would like to send the items Miss Magpie highlights as needed, please stay tuned – we will have information on how to get this to the Calais Women’s Center soon. 

Calais Womens Centre by Miss Magpie


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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Jeremy Corbyn visit to Dunkirk and Calais Refugee Camps

Our Help Refugees team were on hand to show Jeremy Corbyn around the Dunkirk and Calais camps today, as well as the warehouse which is the hub for kitchens and the distribution of food and aid to both camps.

Mr Corbyn was dignified, respectful and interested in everything he saw and everyone he met. He didn’t have a huge entourage – just volunteers to show him around including Maddie, Philli, Hettie and Josie from our team, and Joe from Home For Winter, and inevitably a small group of press. He spoke to many refugees in both camps and took time to listen carefully to their stories, including a man with a British passport who is bringing up two small children in the mud in Dunkirk because he can’t get them to Britain.

Speaking on Sky News from the Help Refugees/L’Auberge warehouse Mr Corbyn said, “Dunkirk is a disgusting beyond belief… A health hazard … We can, should and must do something”

Everyone who visits the camps is profoundly affected by what they see. We hope Mr Corbyn can indeed do something to bring about change to these inhumane conditions.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Calais refugee camp (1)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Calais refugee camp (2)

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visits Calais refugee camp (3)


We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.

Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!

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