Food. Water. Shelter. Health. Education. Development.
Basic needs required by all humans around the World. But refugees, as we know, often struggle to access these basic human needs and rights in their fragile context.
When we know that groups of people in Calais still do not have access to this, we are reminded every day why our work matters just as much now.
Locally, we distribute to all areas of need. One being home to a group of Eritreans. The country of origin small on the map, neighbouring Ethiopia but often not known widely.
Unlike many groups we serve, this group reside temporarily in very vulnerable contexts. Having been pushed out of a small forest, where they were able to sleep in tents or under some kind of cover. Now they sleep along the road, next to and underneath bypasses. Lucky to get a sleeping bag or blanket from us or another source, but even luckier if they can keep it for longer than a few nights.
In recent months we have been able to distribute a variety of items, which we see with the men every week. This is because they each have to wear all of their posessions as if they don’t, the items will disappear and they will be left with nothing once again.
Our volunteers after visiting here are always so taken back by the strong sense of community amongst the men. How warm and kind they are to each other and to us. Despite being the group in the most fragile living conditions in Calais, they’re sense of community leaves you feeling safe and warm.
When distributing items, each refugee must shake the hand of each of our volunteers, greeting them and saying thank you. But we are the thankful ones, that for a few hours are stood amongst kind hearted, strong and humane men.
But the reality is, they themselves are not safe nor are they warm. When leaving our distribution, they return to their road side, or underneath the bypass, sleeping, attempting to get warm or sleep for a few hours. Cold hands, shivering at times, but smiling through their tired eyes.
To volunteer or donate go to www.care4calais.org