Blog

Upcoming Evictions: Information

Volunteering

Please email calaisvolunteers@gmail.com to coordinate. We will still need help in the coming weeks, and in the aftermath of the eviction.


Donations

We are still accepting donations!

We are currently looking at a couple of potential emergencies and attempting to create a reserve of stock for these eventualities (either an eviction, or a fire which is increasingly likely as the weather worsens). The priority items for these are:

3-4 seasons sleeping bags
Tents
Thick blankets
Roll mats
1L bottles of water
Big backpacks and rolling suitcases

Please see the full Calais evictions donations requests for more.


Press

Any press coverage of the eviction itself is welcome, in order to hold the French authorities to account.

However, in the run up to the eviction, everyone in the camp and the warehouse is really busy with preparations. Please email media@helprefugees.org for more information.

We are going to do our utmost to ensure that everybody is safe and looked after.

Thank you for your support xxxxxx

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Calais Kitchens Food Donations

What should I ask for if I run a food collection?

NO OATS PLEASE!
NO GLASS JARS PLEASE!

Priority items:
Bags – we REALLY need bags for life as we use 1000’s per week, also 10ltr and 20ltr bags.
Tinned fish (Ring pull if possible)
Tinned tomatoes (large catering tins and small tins)
Tinned chickpeas or kidney beans (large catering tins and small tins)
Cooking oil (large catering bottles and 1ltr bottles)
Split lentils (1kg – 5kg packs – nothing which requires soaking please)
Plain flour (1kg packs)
Rice (large sacks please)
Spaghetti (only this type of pasta please as the sudanese make a pudding out of it!)
Sugar (large sacks and small packs)
UHT Milk (1 litre cartons)
Tea bags (used to make chai tea every day)
Salt
Onions
Garlic
Other food we regularly send out or our kitchens cook with:
Spices
Cinnamon sticks
Green cardamom pods
Lemon
Honey
Dried Fruit
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Other Essentials
Bags for life / strong bin liners / sandwich bags
Washing up liquid
Bin bags
Tea towels / washing up sponges / wire wool
Fresh fruit and vegetables are always needed so if you have the opportunity to buy fresh fruit while in Calais, this would be greatly appreciated, especially oranges, apples and bananas.
Please bring all donations, large or small to the warehouse, where they will be distributed to the kitchens which are running low on those items.

Community Kitchens

We are supporting a large amount of community kitchens across the camp supplying them with wood and food so camp residents can feed themselves and the communities around them.

You can read more about this project here

For these community kitchens, we are looking for the below items to equip each kitchen.

Fire extinguisher
Fire blanket
Emergency signal – horn
Big metal drums filled with water outside – fire points ­www.lumkani.com
First aid kit
Set of sharp knifes
Wooden spoons
Serving spoons
Cutlery
Hard plastic: Plates, bowls, cups
Big metal or hard plastic bowls (no glass)
3 x saucepans 10 – 12 litres
Large frying pan non-stick
Small frying pan non-stick
Colander
Sieve
Tin opener
Peeler
Plastic storage containers for food and equipment with lids 50 litres
Plastic folding storage containers 32l
Water containers or rolling barrels. 50L
Washing up bowl
White board and pens
2 x Buckets
Broom wooden handle / tuff bristles
Dustpan and brush wood and metal
Dish Cloths
Tea Towels
Metal Scrubbers
Washing up Liquid

Please email calaiskitchens@gmail.com for more information!

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UNACCOMPANIED REFUGEE CHILDREN

There has been a lot of news this week regarding unaccompanied minors in the Calais camp. The Court of Appeal upheld the Home Office appeal against the Zat judgement. This judgement was passed in January 2016, and forced the government to allow three Syrian children and one young adult with mental health problems to enter the UK legally, and be reunited with their families. We do not believe the families will now be separated again, but the appeal demonstrates our government’s disregard for the human rights of refugees.

This disregard was exposed in the Home Affairs committee report on the migration crisis. The lack of adequate response shown by our government and the EU is described as “lamentable”. The report places particular emphasis on the danger for unaccompanied child refugees, in particular highlighting the enormous failings of our government in forcing the 157 with immediate family in the UK (and therefore the legal right to be here) to remain stuck in dire and dangerous conditions in Calais.

Last weekend, Amelia Gentleman visited our team in the Calais camp and met some of those child refugees. She published what she found in The Guardian, available here.

We would like to make it clear that the Zat ruling does not undermine the Dublin III regulation, or the Dubs Amendment. We are still working hard to make sure that those eligible under both receive the support they need, both practically and legally.

To help dissect this week’s news, have a listen to our co-founder Lliana discussing the issues in more depth with Shelagh Fogerty on LBC.

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SCHOOL IN SOFTEX

We are delighted to announce that the new school in Softex had it’s first day of classes yesterday!

Softex is one of the largest camps in Northern Greece, with over 3,000 residents, many of them young children. It has been in the news recently, noted for the dangers faced by women and children due to lack of security and privacy, and a highly pressurised atmosphere.

Setting up a school in camp allows children time to be children again, to have a routine, to socialise, and of course, continue their education. We are proud to fund InterVolve – International Volunteers, our implementing partners, on this and many other projects.

To help us continue to support and fund projects like these please text REFU to 70700 to donate £5 (texts cost £5 plus standard text amount, rates vary according to networks)

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FIRE IN NOTORA SQUAT, ATHENS

At 5am this morning there was a fire in the Notora Squat in Athens, home to 100 refugees. It is thought to have been an arson attack. This was the first squat opened to refugees in the area, in October 2015.

The first floor and everything inside is destroyed. Luckily no one was injured, but the residents have lost their homes. It is still unclear who the perpetrators were and we don’t know, at this stage, if the building is salvageable.

Please help us raise money to support the residents and the clean up operation, through our implementing partners in Athens Khora.

You can donate here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/khora

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‘WE MUST COME TOGETHER AND CHOOSE LOVE’

Ahead of the Help Refugees gig at the O2 Forum Kentish Town on Sunday 22nd November, Paloma Faith poses in a CHOOSE LOVE t-shirt designed by Katherine Hamnett. Creator of the ’80s slogan T-shirt, Katherine has donated her slogan CHOOSE LOVE – a twist on her iconic CHOOSE LIFE slogan T-shirt.

“In a world that is constantly facing fear and devastation, we must come together and CHOOSE LOVE. By choosing love, we choose to treat each other with respect and dignity in the hope that we can drive out the darkness and make the world a better place. In the words of Martin Luther King, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that’. Choose Love now,” said Paloma Faith.

Tickets for the Help Refugees show on Sunday with Paloma Faith, Peace and special guests announced on the night are now available.

The tickets are £40.00 and available from www.ticketweb.co.uk and www.ticketmaster.co.uk – no booking fee will be charged and all proceeds from tickets will go to Help Refugees charity.
CHOOSE LOVE T-shirts are available with ticket purchase for extra £19.00 each.

Tickets will also be available, again with no booking fee charged and all proceeds going from tickets to Help Refugees, from the following outlets:

www.alt-tickets.co.uk
www.seetickets.com
www.dice.fm
www.gigantic.com
www.songkick.com

Katharine Hamnett, creator of the 80’s slogan T-shirt, has donated her slogan “CHOOSE LOVE” – a twist on her iconic CHOOSE LIFE slogan T-shirt.

Says Hamnett, “CHOOSE LOVE is central for how we should be dealing with this humanitarian crisis. We are all children of migrants and refugees. Civilisations fall apart when we stop caring for our fellow men.”

Proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts will go to Help Refugees and support us in our work. Please click here to read about what we do.

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WARM WISHES

Last winter we ran a #warmwishes campaign, and invited you to give the gift of warmth to someone who has nothing.

Many thousands of refugees – men, women and children – spent the winter months living in makeshift camps as they journey from conflict to safety. They travelled only in the clothes they are wearing and most were not prepared for the bitter cold.

You helped us help them, by giving an essential warm item to a refugee in France or Greece. You bought sleeping bags, tents and warm clothing to be delivered straight to Calais. You donated funds towards warm bedding, clothing and hot meals for refugees arriving in Greece. You sent donations of anything you could think of to try to help.

Your efforts made a difference. Volunteers on the ground handed out thousands of sleeping bags, lanterns, scarves, gloves, hats, fuel and hot meals. Thank you.

We understand that so many people have already given so much. But, to our frustration and anger, the crisis is not over. There are still 56,000 refugees in Greece, living in makeshift accommodation. Though the residents of the former Calais camp known as ‘The Jungle’ have been moved to CAO’s, the streets of Paris show a huge number of people in desperate need of help.

The nights are getting longer and colder. Please watch this space for news of our Winter Appeal, to be announced mid-November – once again, we will need your help to help them.

 

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LETTER TO DAVID CAMERON

LETTER TO DAVID CAMERON ASKING FOR DELAY TO DEMOLITION OF ‘THE JUNGLE’ TO PROTECT THE #CHILDRENOFCALAIS

Public figures, Help Refugees, Letters Live and Citizens UK today called on David Cameron to save children trapped in Calais ‘jungle’.

An unprecedented coalition of 145 well-known figures from cinema, television, theatre, art, business, sport and literature as well as Help Refugees, Letters Live and Citizens UK today publish an open letter to David Cameron calling for urgent action to save the #childrenofcalais, and invite the public to READ, SIGN AND SHARE here.

A full list of signatories and the text of the letter is below.

Jude Law, Shappi Khorsandi, Idris Elba, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Branson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Curtis, Stephen Fry, Helena Kennedy, Gary Lineker, Phillip Pullman and Tom Stoppard are among the list of names which represent the best of British talent and the arts coming together to urge the Prime Minister to step in and allow unaccompanied children living in the Jungle to be reunited with their families in the UK.

They say in the letter: “This is a humanitarian crisis that needs to be acknowledged as such and it is imperative that we do everything we can to help these innocent and highly vulnerable refugees, especially the minors, as swiftly as is humanly possible.”

They are seeking to draw attention to the plight of the 291 unaccompanied children in the Jungle who have a legal right to join family in the UK, and are stuck in a dangerous bureaucratic limbo with the imminent demolition of the Jungle on the horizon.

On Monday 22 February, the French authorities are due to demolish the southern part of the ‘Calais Jungle’ which would destroy the temporary homes of over 3,000 people. This section of the camp is predominantly occupied by unaccompanied children and families. A census conducted on Monday by Help Refugees/L’Auberge Des Migrants found 440 children living in this section of the camp, 291 of which are unaccompanied. Public figures are urging David Cameron to intervene to ensure that refugee children are protected.

Citizens UK has identified hundreds of unaccompanied minors in Calais who have valid legal claims to have their asylum applications processed in the UK. The first of these cases was
heard in the UK Courts last month; the court ruled that the children should legally be reunited with family in the UK while their asylum cases were processed. Citizens UK have already
largely identified, screened and begun to process the minors in question.

The letter is open for the public to sign at:
http://www.refugees-welcome.org.uk/childrenofcalais/

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Petition to Protect the Children of Calais

SIGN THE PETITION TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN OF CALAIS

Campaigners gathered outside the Home Office today for a memorial for Alan Kurdi. Help Refugees joined Juliet Stevenson, Vanessa Redgrave and over 100 other attendees for the gathering, organised by our partners Citizens UK. 387 refugee children living in the Calais ‘Jungle’ have been identified as eligible for protection in the UK according to the Alf Dubs amendment.

Let us demonstrate to Amber Rudd and our government that we will not turn our backs on these children. Please sign this petition and write to your MP and local council to tell them you want them to start welcoming refugee children without delay: http://bit.ly/2c0i0cP

Film maker Lillian Simonsson has made a short film highlighting their plight – please watch to learn more: https://vimeo.com/181182309

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