One of the organisations we support in the Calais refugee camp is Baloo’s Youth Centre. This organisation provides a safe place for boys aged 12 – 18 to relax and learn while they live in the camp. The team sent us this update.
Amidst the chaos and confusion of the recent forced evictions in the southern sector of the Jungle, the importance of Baloo’s has become apparent as a protective area of stability for the adolescent boys in the camp.
Activities have occurred throughout the week ranging from sports to science in an effort to bring structure to the lives of those 12 – 18 years old. One extremely successful activity was Monday’s science experiment that involved making a parachute out of an egg, a plastic bag, and some string, tape and straws (as seen in the pictures below).
Other activities this week included a beach trip mixed with beach football, street cricket, and another successful science experiment of making a freestanding structure with marshmallows and dried spaghetti. These activities are an essential part of Baloo’s ethos as sports have enabled the boys to burn off their restlessness whilst education has brought normality to their lives as many of them have been out of school for over a year.
This week has also been particularly cold in camp with temperatures dropping to minus 8 on some nights. Even though the vast majority of our boys are now living in makeshift houses, ice has appeared inside these structures demonstrating the appalling living conditions in the Jungle. Concerned about the wellbeing of those sleeping in freezing temperatures, the Baloo’s team decided to distribute hot water bottles to those living in the worst accommodation. Between 10pm and midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday the team dropped off 25 hot water bottles to unaccompanied minors to bring them extra warmth. The look of relief on their faces was both heart warming and heart breaking considering the situation they lived in. A slightly slow process to ensure the provisions went to the right people, the team plan to distribute another 25 in the coming two nights.
To support Baloo’s Youth Centre and their amazing work please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/calaisjungleyouth
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!