Blog

SNOW IS COVERING CAMPS IN NORTHERN GREECE

Not here. Here there is no escape from the snow. Living in a camp means little access to substantial shelter, or even warm clothes, to avoid the cold.

This is a refugee camp in Northern Greece. There over 15,000 refugees in this area, mostly still in tents. And the last couple of days have seen thick snowfall across much of the region.

Our partners and team on the ground are working flat out to distribute blankets and warm clothes, weatherproof living spaces to make them habitable and to provide hot meals.

Whether you can provide help during this harsh weather with donations, clothes and goods, or by volunteering your time, please: #ChooseLove this winter

To donate: https://www.justgiving.com/…/prism-t…/helprefugeeschooselove

To help with clothes and goods: calaisdonations@gmail.com

Volunteering: northerngreecevolunteers@gmail.com

Image: Paul Carr

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WINTERISATION PROJECT IN KALOCHORI REFUGEE CAMP COMPLETE

Imagine spending winter sleeping on cold concrete. Most refugees in Northern Greece are ‘housed’ in tents, usually inside old industrial warehouses. These spaces were never designed for human habitation and winter poses a real threat to the health of residents.

In response, our implementing partners at the ‘Get Sh*t Done’ Team is producing raised wooden flooring in the Help Refugees Greece warehouse to protect occupants from cold and flooding. It’s a small but extremely important step to improve living conditions. And this is no minor operation. In the last month, they’ve produced over 3,000m2 of new flooring. Their work is ensuring that Greece’s often-harsh winter is more comfortable and survivable for thousands of people.

You can donate to the work of the team at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/getshitdoneteam

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REFUGEE RESCUE HELP 53 PEOPLE IN DINGY ON GREEK SHORES

At 7.12am our implementing partners Refugee Rescue spotted a dingy perilously arriving on the shores of Greece. On-board were 53 people, stranded and cold, including 3 babies, 1 child, 11 women and 38 men of various nationalities.

The amazing team at Refugee Rescue raced to provide aid, getting everyone off the boat and setting a fire to warm up the freezing arrivals. This is especially important for the children – for whom these conditions are often unbearable.

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WINTER COATS FOR UNDER 3’s

This winter tens of thousands of refugees will be sleeping in cold camps in Greece with temperatures reaching well below freezing.

After a recent visit to Ritsona camp to visit our wonderful implementing partners Lighthouse Relief we were saddened to discover the camp was very low on donations for warm coats for under 3 year olds. To ensure fair distribution there needs to be a coat for every child in the correct size. They need to be good quality to ensure they are somewhat protected from their below standard living conditions .

Help refugees were delighted to be able to buy a coat for every child and Lighthouse Relief distributed then this week.

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Calais Donations – Needs List November 26 2016

Now the Calais camp has closed we continue to send aid to Paris and the Dunkirk camp regularly. We also aim to become a hub for donations, sending a 40ft container of aid per month to Syria, Greece or Lebanon or wherever the need is. 

To find out more about sending containers of aid abroad, please click HERE.

The items we can receive to our Calais warehouse right now are the following:

  • men’s underwear (new)

  • men’s waterproof jackets, size S and M

  • men’s hats

  • men’s gloves

  • men’s socks

  • Trainers

  • Walking boots

Refugee Community Kitchen is currently simply continuing their operation. They are serving the refugees in the Dunkirk camp. The food items we want are the following:

  • Vegetables that you can keep like Squash

  • Potatoes

  • Spices, especially chilli flakes, turmeric, mustard seed, curry leaves

  • Big tins of tomato

  • Lemon juice

  • Courgette

  • Fresh tomatoes

  • Lettuce

  • Fresh chilli’s

  • Onion

  • Sea salt

  • Olive oil

  • Pureed tomato, small tins and tubes

  • Honey

  • Golden syrup

  • Oats

  • Drinking choc powder

  • Lemons

  • Oranges

  • Tinned white beans

  • Dates

The kitchen also needs:

  • Bin bags

  • Washing up liquid

  • Spray Surface cleaner

  • Bicarb of soda

  • Large catering kitchen (roll blue roll)

Please note that you MUST register your donation delivery HERE in order to drop off your donations! The address will be sent to you once you register. Please also be aware that no deliveries will be unloaded before 10am or after 5pm, as the team needs to prepare for distributions. If you are volunteering with us, please come from 9am, and your donations will be processed later on in the day.

If possible, please aim to bring donations on a weekday as the weekends are our busiest time. However, we do appreciate that this does not fit into many people’s schedules so please do not let this put you off booking for a Saturday or Sunday!

If you have any questions regarding donations, please email calaisdonations@gmail.com

We also need volunteers! Please get in touch with calaisvolunteers@helprefugees.org to come and help out, once you’ve filled in this form

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Lighthouse Relief’s blog is exploring the day to day lives of refugees in Greece

What distance separates the camps in Greece from the general population?

Ritsona is a former military air base, far away from the city of Athens, cut off from daily Greek life. Mobility is limited by costs, resources and a lack of transport. Alan, a young Kurd living in the camp, said ‘the doors are open, but it feels like a cage’.

Our partners at Lighthouse Relief have published a blog exploring the lengths residents of Ritsona Refugee Camp go to, to create a sense of normality. And the feelings of the camps closest neighbours, the town of Chalkida.

To read the blog, or to see the incredible work they do, visit Lighthouse Relief’s website at: http://www.lighthouserelief.org/blog/

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CHOOSE LOVE

Between December 4th and Christmas Eve 2016, Help Refugees launch our ‘CHOOSE LOVE’ campaign, calling for people to show their support for the 65 million people seeking refuge worldwide. Through a series of events and initiatives we aim to encourage empathy, increase awareness and raise funds to help sustain and expand our work on the front lines of this crisis.

As a brutal winter approaches, we need you now more than ever. This is still a crisis, but we are not powerless.

The campaign will see a series of events hosted by celebrated people across the arts. If you can buy a ticket, come and join the party. If you can’t make it, throw your own. If partying isn’t your thing, and actually you just really love pub quizzes, put on a pub quiz.

Tell us what you’re doing – take photos, tweet us, tag us in all your events.

Whatever it is – even if you’re just planning on selling some cake to your friends and talking their ear off about what happened in Calais – get a T shirt or a jumper for yourself and your loved ones, to spread the message.

No act of compassion is too small. Please join us – CHOOSE LOVE.

(Click to buy!)

4TH DECEMBER : CAMPAIGN LAUNCH @ JAZZ CAFE – JAMIE CULLUM AND FRIENDS (including KT Tunstall) 

 

5TH DECEMBER : BOOKSTORE TAKEOVER – A NIGHT OF TELLING STORIES. ALF DUBS, SHAPPI KHORSANDI, HARRI JACOBI, AHMED ALRASHID, LIZ  CLEGG

 

& BANDS4REFUGEES: COVERS WITH MEMBERS OF WOLF ALICE, SWIM DEEP, PEACE, SUPERFOOD, SLAVES, YEARS&YEARS, BLACK HONEY AND BLOODY KNEES

 

8TH DECEMBER : RAVE FOR REFUGEES @ ELECTRIC BRIXTON WITH DAPHNI, FAITHLESS, JON HOPKINS, EATS EVERYTHING, SKREAM

 

& HANDS UP PRESENTS AL DOYLE (HOT CHIP, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM) THE BUSSEY BUILDING, PECKHAM

 

14TH DECEMBER : CHRISTIE’S AUCTION @ WHITECHAPEL GALLERY WITH DINNER BY DELICIOUSLY ELLA & SPACE

TRANSFORMED BY HOUSE OF HACKNEY. ARTWORK BY ANISH KAPOOR, ANTONY GORMLEY, YVES KLEIN AND

EXPERIENTIAL LOTS WITH JUDE LAW, GARY LINEKER AND OTHERS.

 

15TH DECEMBER : RAVE FOR REFUGEES @ ELECTRIC BRIXTON, LINE-UP: CHASE & STATUS, SIGMA, SHY FX, RUDIMENTAL

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A THIRD OF CHILDREN TRACKED BY REFUGEE YOUTH SERVICE HAVE LEFT CENTRES AFTER THE JUNGLE CLOSURE

The Refugee Youth Service has reported that a third of the 179 children tracked in October have gone missing after the eviction of the ‘jungle’.

The treatment of minors has also been noted as an area of concern. This has led to worries that these missing children will, instead of turning to state services, be preyed upon by traffickers and smugglers.

Our co-founder Josie Naughton has been quoted today stating:

“We are disheartened that once again children, the most vulnerable of refugees, have gone missing following the chaotic eviction in Calais. It is particularly worrying that alarm bells are not being raised. Both governments need to start to take responsibility for minors and provide them with adequate safeguarding to ensure they are properly protected and uphold their responsibilities according to the UN convention on the rights of a child.”

Children have lost faith in the system that was meant to protect them, we must call on our government to fulfill their commitment for 1000 vulnerable children to be transferred to the UK before Christmas.

Photo credit: DENIS CHARLET VIA GETTY IMAGES

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The Bussey Building, Peckham – 8th December

The wonderful team at Hands Up and CLF Art Cafe in the Bussey Building have come together to put on a night of dancing on the 8th December.

It falls in the middle of our CHOOSE LOVE – WINTER APPEAL, running from the 4th to the 24th December 2016.

Hands Up presents:

Al Doyle of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem

Bradley Zero (DJ set) 

Myles Mears (DJ set) 

All ticket proceeds will go to Help Refugees, and some members of our team will be there on the night to give a quick talk about our work, and answer any questions you might have.

Anyone in the South London aream, come down.

For those of you going to Rave4Refugees at Electric Brixton that night, why not do both? We certainly will be.

Buy tickets here

Check out the facebook event here

hands-up-bussey-building

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THE ORANGE HOUSE – SIX MONTHS ON

Six months ago we met Marina she had a vision to create a safe space in Athens for the refugee community, she created Zaatar – non-profit organization with the approach of ‘No tears, no drama, just action’. They commandeered an electrics store and transformed it into a comfortable home for some of the most vulnerable refugees; unaccompanied minors, single mothers and LGBT refugees.

Help Refugees has been able to help fund The Orange house thanks to the generosity of your donations – with your support here’s what they have been able to achieve in the last 6 months:

Within the Orange House there are hugely popular classes teaching English from basic to advanced, Arabic Alphabet classes for the Children as well as Greek, German, French and Spanish. Giving refugees who have had their access to education taken away, the gift of learning again.

There are also bespoke meetings for people from the LGBT community, giving legal and medical support. Children’s classes have proven extremely popular, with art and craft happening twice a week.

Saturdays are reserved for activities, from visiting the local park to music and dancing. The day finished off with Cinema Club, screening films for children and adults in a mixture of Arabic, Farsi and English.

One of the residents of the Orange House, a 17 year old from Iran, said: “I want to say thank you a millions of times. This volunteer takes me out for coffee to teach me English, and I love my salsa teacher, I am learning guitar with this volunteer. Oh, and this other volunteer, I feel such a positive energy from her! Please find new volunteers because they make me feel so good about myself!” Proof that this work is invaluable to the refugees who access it.

Please help us to continue this incredible work by visiting our site and donating, www.helprefugees.org

As ever, Choose Love.

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