How you can help the refugees this Christmas
Google’s end of 2015 report has revealed that the number one question we all put in to our search engine this year was ‘How can I help the refugees?’ Well the year’s not over – there’s still time – and Christmas is a time for giving, let’s not forget.
Josie Naughton, the Founder of Help Refugees has revealed to GLAMOUR how her trip to Calais has changed her life forever and why we should get involved with the #warmwishes campaign.
Over to you, Josie…
I first went to the refugee camp in Calais or ‘The Jungle’ as it is otherwise known back in September and it’s next to impossible to not sound overly dramatic when describing the effect it had on me so I’ll just go right ahead – I don’t think I will ever see the world in the same way again.
Every night since that day I look outside the window before I go to sleep I and think of the wonderful men women and children I have met there and the thousands more like them facing the same struggles throughout Europe.
I imagine how cold they must be, sleeping in tents or make-shift shelters, how afraid they must be not knowing where their next meal will come from and how unsafe they must feel knowing they have no place to call home. There has been more than one occasion where upon hearing the wind and rain banging against my bedroom window it’s been all I could do to not cry myself to sleep.
Half an hour on the train from Folkstone over 6,000 people are living in conditions I couldn’t have imagined. I would have assumed in a humanitarian crisis like this, governments and the large charities I have so often donated to would be there providing aid and some sort of order. I was wrong. Were it not for the amazing volunteers working day and night on the ground I don’t know what fate these refugees would be facing.
Having been in the camp no longer then an hour I was introduced to a 4-year-old girl from Afghanistan and her father. He was forced to leave after being threatened by the Taliban for speaking English, as for the whereabouts of her mother I was told not to ask. The two of them were living in a tent… not a good tent, a two man pop up tent you would see at a festival and it was pitched in the mud. The temperature in Calais can reach well below freezing and it’s not unheard of to have wind speeds of up to 20mph. I’m almost certain such tents are not built for these kinds of conditions. Bahar and her father had just come back from a trip to the bathroom, a bathroom which was in fact a near by bush. ‘The Jungle’ is no place for a 4-year-old child. And yet that is her home. I still find it hard to understand how we can let that happen.
Whilst we might not be able to solve all the worlds political problems, stop wars, or open borders – we can help People like Bahar and her father all over Europe keep warm this winter.
This festive season Help Refugees have launched a ‘warm wishes’ campaign, inviting you to give the gift of warmth to someone who has nothing. By clicking here you can buy a sleeping bag, a coat or a tent for a refugee this Christmas and you’ll receive a hand designed Christmas e-card. Perhaps you could buy the gift on behalf of a loved one or ask a loved one to buy it for you instead of your usual socks and bath bomb.
Please do help us spread the word and encourage others to do the same using #warmwishes on social media.
You can also donate here to contribute to the vital work Help Refugees does including building shelters.
We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work. 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!