A friend of mine, last Sunday, went to Dunkirk to take food, water and clothing to child refugees trying to survive. Many of these children were orphans, left to fend for themselves by parents who’d either died in wars, or who’d sent their children off in search of a future where no future existed in their war-torn country. The Dunkirk police had recently destroyed the refugees’ makeshift camp – brutally in some cases – leaving them deeply traumatised and having to sleep rough in the nearby woods. My friend and the other volunteers with her also organised and ran art-based activities for the children. (See image near end.) They were supported by several other volunteer agencies.
Here’s what Farah Khan, a teacher and a help4refugeechildren (H4RC) volunteer had to say, ‘Children here lack stability, structure and security. Their safety is at its most vulnerable. Babies and young children are living in dire, destitute conditions without any form of education, medical care or counselling. As a teacher, I observed quickly the serious impact this has had on them. Their smiles turn to aggression in dynamic cycles. These children, they live in fear in their isolation.’
These are people who’ve fled their homes and homelands to escape wars and terrorism that they’ve had no part in. Many have lost friends and family, some of whom died on the roadside while on their perilous journeys. They just want a better life. Neither France nor the UK accepts any responsibility for those in Dunkirk; each saying it’s the other country’s job. Many of the children have never been to school; some have never lived in a home.
A clip from my friend’s FB post:
‘Today, L’Auberge des Migrants reported they “regularly find our water cans filled with tear gas, which makes water not safe. Sometimes we even find them gutted with knives.” We won’t attempt to describe the beauty we found in people, living in the woods. So, please look at the pictures we have shared (see help4refugeechildren and pictures shown) and we hope you discover for yourself.
‘We will be travelling again to Calais at the end of the month and we hope to bring as many blankets and sleeping bags as we can. If you can help with a collection or drop off any of these two items, please follow the below contact information.
Contact us at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also donate here if you wish to pledge any of these items and we will purchase them on your behalf: gofundme.com/4refugeechildren.
And, if you haven’t done so, please sign our petition: change.org/p/theresa-may-end-inhumane-homelessness-of-refug……
The Help4Refugee Children Team
We would like to thank our committed volunteers who attended this trip: Seonaid, Gareth, Heloise, Zain, Farah, Katie, Nick, Orbit and Angela. Our financial supporters with whom this would not be achievable and the organisations which made this possible: Dunkirk / Dunkerque Refugee Women’s Centre, @The Hummingbird Project – High Peak People Helping Refugees, Just Shelter & Care4Calais.’
Finally, a quote from Help4Refugee Children website:
‘In July 2017, Help4Refugee Children saw a three-year-old with a baton bruise in his face. Every week the police go to the camp and dismantle everything which has been put up, to ensure that, nothing permanent is erected and to prevent the formation of a camp; we heard the heart-breaking story of a mother who when the police came had refused to leave her tent about to be bulldozed and told the police “no, I am not leaving, my baby is inside sleeping” the police officer then said “ok” and took out his pepper spray and sprayed her and the occupants of the tent.’