This week we delivered tents, blankets, shoes and coats to the fabulous Danika in Paris, and went out with her to get an update on the situation there. It’s not good. There are around 1,500 refugees sleeping rough on the streets, including families. It’s cold, wet and dirty.
In addition to the same problems we face in Calais, things are complicated by the proximity of local homeless people who may be drunk or on drugs. We applaud Danika’s attitude; she is there to help anyone in need. But nonetheless problems can arise at midnight when those who are drunk come into contact with minors or families with small children. It’s a difficult dynamic.
Rather than help, the police forcefully move people on, pushing diverse groups together into small areas. This part does remind me of Calais.
One thing that Danika talked about will stay with me. She spends a lot of time helping individuals in need. One of these is a family made up of a female refugee with two kids whose husband abandoned her in Germany because the son is disabled and cant walk. She then met and married an Afghan man but they were deported from Germany.
Meeting a new man is nothing unusual for a single mother in the UK. But for a refugee en route this set of circumstances has made the family’s asylum claim so complex and unusual that no lawyer will take it on.
So Danika is trying to help them. Because that is the basis of what we do. We are here to help people whom much of the world has turned their backs on. One hell of a lady is Danika.