Six months ago Maryam (that’s her in the middle of the photo) came out to Calais to volunteer with us. Deeply moved by what she saw, and determined to do something about it, she returned home to set off an amazing chain of events.
At her mosque in London, her friends were so stirred by her story they immediately started fundraising and arranging events. A drama club for 40 kids. An art class for 50 women. A quiz night with 60 entrants. “These were events where we could talk about refugees as people,” Maryam told us. “And those who came then spread the word themselves, so more and more people came to understand.”
They worked with an organisation called SICM in London, and six months later they’d raised an incredible £9,600. They wanted to bring the donation to Calais themselves and volunteer along with it – and here they are. 16 men and women who did an incredible job.
We had the best time with them throughout the weekend they spent with us, swapping stories and laughing non-stop. It was wonderful out on distributions too, as so many of the women spoke Arabic, and could chat with the Arabic-speaking refugees in their own language, which they loved.
We think it’s brilliant that Maryam inspired people like this, but she modestly says that we shouldn’t see it like that. The point is, she says, that when you actually meet refugees and see them as people, you can’t help but take action.
“One good thing about this trip with my friends is that it really made us all understand how real the issue is. Already since we’ve been back, one of the volunteers gave a talk to the rest of the community about our experience, and a lot has been done to share the experience with others in our community at SICM.”
To see people spreading love like this at this time is uplifting for everyone, and we are so proud of the positivity that volunteers like Maryam’s friends bring. Please come to volunteer with us in Calais and make a real difference today: care4calais.org/get-involved/volunteer-in-calais/