How we help newly-arrived young refugees”
In the last few days our Emergency Response Team have been incredibly busy welcoming newly-arrived refugees on the South Coast. Last week we welcomed 180 people on four boats from countries including Afghanistan, Syria, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Chad and Albania. Among them have been dozens of families with young children – and some unaccompanied children too. We’re always so relieved to see that they have arrived safely.
We gave out blankets, sliders and socks, joggers, underwear, T-shirts, hoodies, hats, biscuits, water, kids clothes and shoes and nappies, and you could see people were so happy to receive them after their long, frightening journeys.
In the last few weeks we’ve been making some special efforts to help the children – in the pictures you can see some of the new outfits we’ve bought recently using your generous donations. It makes such a huge difference to be able to change out of your cold, soaking wet clothes into something dry and fresh that looks nice too!
A new item we tried recently were fidget toys for the children. They have been incredibly popular.
Fidget toys might not seem like essentials, but after these dangerous crossings children can be terrified, and the toys help to take their minds off what they’ve just been through. One little boy seemed shy and hesitant as he accepted the biscuits I offered him as he got off the boat but later I saw him through the window of the coach and he was playing with a fidget toy and grinning and waving at me.
It’s wonderful to see what a difference such small things can make and how it helps us to connect with people and put them at ease. I remember another child, a little girl in a new pink flowered outfit, ran up as she was about to board the coach and gave me a big hug goodbye. It was a lovely moment, one where you really appreciate the spirit of the children, and the importance of what we do.
Because of the new arrivals we urgently need new volunteers at the moment – can you help to welcome refugees arriving at Dungeness and give out aid?
Volunteers for the ERT need to live ideally within an hour’s drive of Dungeness, and be able to respond at short notice, sometimes at unsociable hours. Of course you don’t need to respond every time – we are hoping to build up a reserve of volunteers so we can operate a rota system.
You don’t need previous experience as we’ll show you what to do – you just need to be willing to get involved when needed.
To volunteer please contact [email protected]
And to donate, https://bit.ly/C4CERT