A young family searching for safety
My partner wanted to come out to France to volunteer after reading articles about the refugee crisis in Europe. So we booked our trains and ferry and headed over to work with the guys at Care4Calais. It’s not an experience I’ll forget quickly. When we went on our first distribution we reached a lay-by in Calais. There was a long line of people waiting for the van to arrive. We parked up, distributed all of the items we had and began to hand out tea and coffee. I noticed a lady and a young girl sitting on a rock at the edge of the area we were distributing.
The little girl must have been about 2 years old. I asked if I could sit with them, the woman jumped up off the rock she was sitting on and offered it to me. She didn’t want me to sit on the gravely floor. I insisted that I was fine on the floor and we all sat down. The lady said that her and her family were from Eritrea. She pointed at another young girl, about 7 years old playing games on the other side of the lay-by and said “my oldest”.
She explained that she left Eritrea with her two daughters and her sister, hoping to find a safer place for them all to live. I asked if her sister was here in Calais too, she looked at the floor and shook her head.
“My sister did not make it”
I put my arm around her and after a moment of silence I looked down. The youngest girl had placed a little pile of stones in front of me. She had a plastic water cup and was filling it with stones and then emptying the stones out into a big pile. She was so proud of it.
Despite the awful circumstances, she was still finding ways to play. I have heard stories online from refugees, saying that Calais was one of the worst places for them on their trip to find safety. The thought that this family were living in those conditions – it was devastating.” – Written by a Care4Calais volunteer.
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