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.
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!