Sometimes when you read the news or go on social media you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by how bad things are for some of our fellow humans across the world. I’ve been particularly emotionally affected by the situation in Syria and the associated refugee crisis.
Every time I see a parent clinging helplessly to their children in the ocean, a washed up tiny body or a bloodied child, dazed, being rescued from the rubble of a bombing, I feel utterly impotent, and overwhelmed by grief. And every time I see someone on social media say ‘refugees not welcome, we’re full’ I despair for humanity. Even writing this post, trying to do something, I feel bereft at the situation that my ‘sisters and brothers’ find themselves in. The very least we can do, if we can afford to, is donate.
Right now, the refugees in Calais are currently facing yet another atrocity. President François Hollande has vowed to dismantle the Calais camp (which currently has a record population of 10,000 refugees) by the end of the year, with some sources indicating that this will begin in a matter of weeks.
The French have been trying to get rid of this camp, which they consider illegal, for a long time, including the bulldozing of a third of it back in January. When that happened, 129 children went missing and were never found – sex trafficking is unfortunately one of the very likely reasons for this. We do not want that to happen this time.
It is rumored that the camp will be cleared by October 31, 2016 as it is illegal to evict anyone in France during Winter (which officially begins November 1). No plans have been made to put the refugees into safe accommodation. This means we have literally a few weeks to equip the 1000 unaccompanied children in Calais with a survival pack.
Charities estimate there are more than 400 unaccompanied children inside the camp who are eligible to come to Britain, but more than four months after the UK government announced that it would accept child refugees from across Europe, no official process appears to have even been put in place to facilitate their transfer. We need to do more!
According to the Guardian incidents of self-harm and depression among children in the Calais refugee camp are increasing as the mental health of unaccompanied minors deteriorates in advance of the site’s demolition. Charities, volunteers and aid agencies say they were witnessing psychological collapse among many of the site’s child refugees after President François Hollande confirmed that the camp would be shut down.
There is currently a fundraising campaign to help these 1000 unaccompanied child refugees. There is no plan to transport them to safety during the imminent eviction. We want to at least give them a means of contacting emergency services, if they get into trouble. It is essential that each unaccompanied child has a modern mobile phone to call emergency services and send their location via GPS, with phone credit to contact non-emergency help, a solid pair of shoes and a backpack to carry their belongings. The cost of this bundle is £65.
Update to article: We reached the donation goal and all children will now be provided with a safety pack. Thanks to everyone who helped!
For other ways to help the Refugee Crisis, watch this short video.
If you would still like to help you can donate to Safe Passage UK who are working to try and get the unaccompanied minors to Britain.
Please share this article, especially if you can’t afford to donate. People say that sharing doesn’t help but a share on facebook usually generates around £10 in donations so it is still doing something worthwhile if you personally can’t afford to donate.
Thanks for reading, even if all we can do is this, it’s better than nothing.