This refugee turned out to be an opera singer

This refugee turned out to be an opera singer

This video is blurred to protect the identity of the main person in it, but it’s really more for listening to than watching – try it and you’ll see what we mean.

It’s from one of our brilliant volunteers in the West Midlands, called Ged. We’ll let him tell the story. “When I volunteered in Calais, one of my abiding memories was of what exceptional people the refugees were. I met people with the most fantastic talents, from art restorers to boxers to musicians, and if you’d ever believed any of the rubbish about them being spongers, you would certainly have thought otherwise after meeting these guys.

One of the most memorable was a young guy from Iran who I met one day when he was playing football. Maybe I noticed him because he had a very strange haircut, with a long bit sticking up on top, which might not have been to everyone’s tastes, but I liked it. We talked for a bit and then he said, “Would you like to hear me sing?”

I wasn’t quite sure what this was going to involve, and of course I had no idea what of his style of singing, or how good he’d be. But he said he thought I’d like it, and he seemed to want to do it for me, so I agreed.

By this time a few other volunteers and refugees were listening, and none of us knew what to expect. So when he launched into a rich, sonorous rendition of Nessun Dorma, from the opera Turandot, jaws fell open. It was astonishing; he was word- and note-perfect from start to finish, and ended with nothing but a shy smile.

I asked how long he’d had lessons for. Never had any, he said. He just loved Italian opera and listened to it in private, and learned from there. When he wanted to sing, he had to walk up into the hills near his home by himself, because opera was banned and he would have been arrested by the authorities. He had taught himself to sing alone, hidden up there in the hills.

I’ll never forget this young man’s singing. I hope that you enjoy it.

Ged, volunteer

Volunteering with us is incredibly rewarding, as well as vitally helpful to refugees, and we urgently need new people. Please consider becoming a volunteer, even if it’s just for a few hours a month go to

About Care4Calais

Care4Calais was founded by a group of volunteers with the sole aim of supporting the people of the Calais refugee camps, providing fresh meals, warm clothing, heating and important legal and medical support.

We are not politicians – we are people like you who simply believe that every human has the right to be treated in a fair and dignified way.

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