Dear Friends and Supporters,
There are now officially no refugees living in the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais. In our 14 months of work in Calais so far, tens of thousands of you have donated time, aid and funds to our collective operations, alongside our partners L’auberge des Migrants International. Thank you for everything.
None of what we have all created together, nor what we have learnt, will be wasted. We are currently planning, with our teams on the ground, for the future of the L’Auberge des Migrants / Help Refugees warehouse. We are staying in Calais because we anticipate the need continuing. Together you have helped us build an amazing infrastructure and we hope to continue to support refugees in France and beyond from this hub over the months to come, as long as there is need. As plans solidify we will inform you of our needs in terms of donations, volunteers and other support. In the meantime we would love to hear any stories, thoughts, accounts or photos you would like to share with us about your experiences of our work, the volunteers, the warehouse or the camp in Calais. Please send these through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So much love and respect, at this time of reflection, to the groups, our partners and friends, who have contributed to the lives of many in Calais: Refugee Youth Service, Refugee Info Bus, The ‘Unofficial’ Women and Children’s Centre,The Calais Woodyard, Calais Kitchens, Refugee Community Kitchen, Jungle books library Calais and Phone credit for refugees and displaced people. It has been an honour to work with all of these brilliant groups and many more besides. We hope to continue to collaborate with you all as long as there are displaced people in Europe and beyond.
Help Refugees also provides emergency humanitarian relief, supports volunteers and funds projects in Greece, Turkey, Lebanon and the Mediterranean. We have been quiet on these fronts in recent weeks because we understand the significance of Calais for so many people, ourselves included.
However, as we all know, the refugee crisis is far from over. Winter is approaching fast and much of our effort is focusing on ways of providing warmth for as many people in Greece as we can, as part of our winterisation programme. Around 56,000 people there are living in tents, around 20,000 are children. Warm clothes, bedding, heating, insulation and flooring can all help people to stay healthy over the cold months. We are also supporting our partners in Lebanon, where there are an estimated 2 million refugees living, on their winterisation projects. In addition we continue to fund groups and initiatives providing nutritious food, medical care, women’s services, informal learning, shelter and more besides.
Help Refugees exists because of all of you. Please do not let go of the passion, the commitment, the generosity and the empathy which you have shown. Let’s continue to work together to support those affected by this global crisis, showing solidarity and challenging ignorance when we face it.
We are very much still here and we look forward to receiving your stories and accounts. As always we will keep you posted of all news, plans and needs.
photo: Dani Castro