We are a group of people who work professionally or as volunteers with young people, asylum-seekers, refugees and other kinds of migrants.
We feel moved to respond to the humanitarian crisis which has materialised around the Channel ports of France and Belgium.
Although the “Jungle” has been closed down and a number of people dispersed around France, the situation in the region is much more complicated and changeable than the fate of just one encampment. The Jungle was just the best known, the largest and best provisioned of dozens of camps and squats in the Calais area. When the Jungle was closed many people refused to register with the French authorities and simply scattered. People are still arriving in the region with the hope of getting to England.
The situation around Calais and the other ports changes every day. With the loss of the Jungle and the very basic resources people were able to access there, the situation for many people on the move is very unclear. And with winter hardening, things are going to become much more difficult.
It is easy to use expressions like “humanitarian crisis” about situations like this. It makes a complicated, fragmented situation seem more understandable. But it is really thousands of individual human crises, thousands of individual human tragedies.
A lot of relief work to date has consisted of leaving vanloads of clothes and food at centralised warehouses, from where it is distributed to the main camps. But we have a background in refugee work, and we want to do more than this. It is important to us that we meet with and talk to people on the move, to show them a human face, to give them essential supplies and advice, give them an opportunity to talk about their hopes and anxieties, to show them that we recognise their suffering and that they are not alone.
But the most important objective is this: to gather information on the experiences of migrants on the move so as to develop and extend what we do for them.
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Nov 15, 2016
Excellent and Much needed project.
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