9th of December 2015
I have just spent the last couple of weeks volunteering at the refugee camp called The Jungle in Calais. It is a completely bonkers and crazy place. On one hand it is horrific, heartbreaking and inhumane and on the other it is absolutely amazing with human kindness and generosity in abundance. There are so many beautiful and caring people – I have shared hundreds of smiles, received so many hugs and been totally inspired by people’s ability to be strong and resilient, work together in solidarity and feel hope.
I have been involved in food distribution, working together with grass-roots organisations and volunteers to create a cohesive and sustainable plan for hot food distribution over the winter. It’s amazing what you can achieve in a couple of weeks with a bunch of like minded people, all on a mission to create an environment where basic human needs, such as hot food, clean water, shelter and warmth are catered for. There are teams of people working around the clock cooking, building, distributing warm cloths and fire wood – no one gets paid and there are no big organisations.
There are approximately 6000 + people living in The Jungle where sanitation is poor and there is very little infrastructure. I have personally witnessed very heavy handed behaviour by the police – using tear gas is a regular occurrence, terrorising innocent people just seems to be the norm with no one regulating what is right and wrong.
The French government simply won’t acknowledge there is a humanitarian crisis happening in Calais and will not give the camp the refugee status it requires in order for the U.N. and other NGOs to step in. The weather is also causing havoc in The Jungle – huge amounts of rain have turned the ground into a quagmire and the gale force winds rip through tents and flatten shelters.
So, the combination of the police brutality, lack of support from the government and the harsh winter weather makes every day life in the camp very difficult.
There are no solutions at the moment and so I feel it is important to help our friends, our fellow human beings, offer our support and come together in solidarity.
I have some time during our Winter season so I am heading back out there tomorrow for a week or so before Christmas and, while I’m there, all will be quite on the Wedding Yurts front but I promise I will be back soon with highlights from our summer of love.
Peace be upon you,
If you would like to know more about the current refugee crises around the world, there is a very informative magazine called Escapism with loads of up to date info – http://www.escapismmagazine.com/the-refugee-crisis/magazine/
If you would like to offer your support by donating check out https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/amelia-burr-1
Or if you would like to volunteer please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org