Choose Love. Featured Destinations See All Destinations. Help Refugees also has partners in Greece, supporting the camps there, for example Refugee Support Greece. Choose Love Today at 5:39 AM Tom was volunteering with the Human Rights Observers team and filmin ... g riot police prevent a food distribution for refugees when he was arrested in Calais in 2018. From supporting the volunteers filling gaps left by governments in providing services, dignity and hope, to creating the world’s first shop where you can buy real items for refugees, we’re all about embracing our shared humanity. Of course, being there gave me a further understanding of the harsh reality of this crisis. AID workers in the Calais Jungle have been accused of having sex with migrants – in some cases with multiple partners a day. Volunteers and refugees alike work incredibly hard to make a dent clearing the waste on Saturday, side by side, united together. Choose Love is a grassroots charity, with various projects based in Calais through to Syria. There are multiple ways that you can get involved with our organization: For the last few years, they have run a huge warehouse where volunteers have sorted clothes, tents and toiletries supplies for mass distribution to refugees in Northern France. by Sal Chaffey At the first aid station in Calais a few weeks ago, I taught a 17-year-old Eritrean boy how to play Noughts and Crosses while he told me about his dream of becoming a nurse in the UK. "Gifts from the Choose Love store provided thousands of meals for people living in camps through the cold winter months. It highlights how volunteers are placed right in the middle of the two dominating debates within migration studies: power over migrants and power of migrants, which in effect places the volunteers in an interesting position of power. Please check back on this page in a week’s time, thank you for your patience. It was distressing to hear that the first night I was there, the camp in Dunkirk had experienced a tear-gas raid from French authorities. Many were not registered in time to be accounted for when accommodation was arranged, were not placed in centres, or have left the centres (for various reasons), so there are refugees camping or sleeping rough across France, and there is an official camp, smaller than the jungle, based in Dunkirk. By shifting the gaze from state actors, NGOs and migrants to exploring the practices of volunteers adds nuances to the dynamics of the camp. And so, the final question: What can we do to help? What are people doing on the ground to tackle the crisis? But the stranger that dwells with you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.’ Leviticus 19:34 Tzelem, the cross-communal rabbinic call for social and economic justice in the UK, has produced a handy online resource addressing the refugee crisis through Jewish text. Over the Christmas break, I spent four days volunteering in Calais with the grassroots charity Help Refugees. Each purchase comes with a beautiful, easy to share e-card. From USD 379. In the USA, Choose Love, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, and gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law. A year 5 student asked me today: “Is it bad to be a refugee? Weʼre raising money to to take to Calais when volunteering with Help Refugees. Empathy please. These experiences are ultimately incomprehensible to anyone who has not been through them. Read Volunteer Stories. If you have any time to do so, I wholeheartedly recommend volunteering, whether you have a day, a week or longer. Choose Love. Required fields are marked *, By Rachel: rachel@equaiteach.co.uk   International Women’s Day is here again, celebrating the achievements of women throughout history. From USD 729. One of the charities, Help Refugees, has been operating in Calais since September 2015 and has a warehouse based there. Help Refugees, as well as working practically to send donations, also focuses on helping refugees to maintain dignity and identity. It is not just the work on the ground in France and beyond which matters. Perhaps not. Help Refugees was born. Volunteer Projects in Africa. Try to think practically but compassionately. Learn what items we need now! Some were there for months, some just for a day, but all there with the goal of helping refugees, and standing up against a huge humanitarian crisis. I was moved by the immediacy with which I felt part of the community there. We can help, we can change things, if we work together, and if we Choose Love. Calais Jungle volunteers accused of 'sexually exploiting' camp's refugees. Our site uses cookies. Take some time to find out more about what is going on: all the organisations mentioned above post regular updates on social media and their websites. Donate . A crisis of this scale might feel like big news, but there are peaks and troughs of coverage as other things catch peoples’ interest, or other events occur, which can allow the refugee crisis to fade to the back of peoples’ minds, or imply that it’s not so bad anymore. Refugees were registered and transferred to accommodation centres across France; the suitability, safety and quality of which varies from place to place. But instead, I choose to write about Love. VOLUNTEER IN CALAIS Support refugees in Northern France. Not the BBC, it seems…, Outside the Box: Considering Gender Equality on International Women’s Day, EqualiTeach Submission to Women and Equalities Committee Call for Evidence on Proposed Changes to the Gender Recognition Act 2004, ‘Anecdote, Assumption and Prejudice’ – A Call to Re-examine the Way we Speak About Asylum, Black History Month: Overcoming the Barriers to Taking Part, Solidarity over Division: Speaking out against Antisemitism. It was hard to comprehend that thousands of people were living in basic shelters, or sleeping on the streets in simple sleeping bags in freezing cold temperatures, which had me wearing five layers and still feeling cold. Volunteers working at the camp state that there are approximately 1000+ refugees staying there, many of whom are children (although official figures state it to be lower). There is a frustrating apathy and lack of awareness in the UK, which together we can turn into curiosity and a galvanised force for change. Everything on the menu is a dish his mother cooked in Syria. This is a global crisis and a political one. * This blog is written from my own experience in Calais, from talking to other volunteers and doing further reading. Our vision is an equal, inclusive and diverse society where everyone is valued and able to succeed. Choose Love – Volunteering in France. Transgender Kids: Who knows best? Imad’s Choose Love Kitchen serves traditional three-course Syrian meals and is fully staffed by Help Refugees volunteers. Help Refugees works in collaboration with Indigo Volunteers to connect volunteers with grassroots projects responding to the refugee crisis in northern France. Despite the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp, thousands of refugees are still in Northern France. If not money, which is vital for the distribution of supplies across the continent, with one shipping container costing £3500, then practical donations are gratefully received. What would you like for 2017? Register Login Donate Login Donate And to spend the afternoon out in the settlements, distributing goods and providing services. Youth Hostel For volunteers staying for three or more nights, there is a discounted rate at a local hostel. 170 Likes, 3 Comments - Choose Love / Help Refugees (@chooselove) on Instagram: “Calais Update - dismantlements and crimes of solidarity Another large scale dismantlement at the…” As much as is possible, refugees are given autonomy: for example being provided with cooking utensils and dry food stores, so they have choice of what to cook, and when to cook it, rather than relying solely on the daily meals from the Refugee Community Kitchen. Whether you can give two days, two weeks or two months, we need your help! Volunteer in Calais . That it is not ok to be a refugee, that it is a bad thing to seek safety and security for you and your family. A giant banana onesie? Equaliteach CIC ), are resold to volunteers and their friends and all the money goes directly back into the charity. Your email address will not be published. People may be almost disappointed to know I didn’t meet or directly work with a single refugee. Are some lives more worthy of saving than others that we only take action when the media reminds us of the children? I don’t have any heartstring-tugging photos (except for of some cats, who live at the warehouse, if you happen to be a cat person…). To ensure safe and responsible volunteering, all organisations have conducted a thorough risk assessment of their operations. Home » Choose Love: My Volunteer Experience In Calais » Choose Love. ), take a picture of it, and add a note or message of support for refugees. Thank you! Can we only be expected to care if provided with just the right image to tug on the heartstrings? Exclusive: The allegations have caused anger and division among charity workers at the camp The ‘Choose our NHS’ and ‘Choose our Carers’ tees are our way of showing love to them, with every penny raised going to NHS Charities Together and the Care Workers Charity. But do we always need to fully understand or relate to an experience to empathise? There are a multitude of charities and grassroots organisations working tirelessly to support the refugees: providing shelters, food, clothes donations as well as practical support such as legal advice and guidance with asylum applications. My experience was one of community, positivity, support, strength and spirit. Find out more about our work. There are many organisations offering support on the ground. £217k Choose Love shop Total £10.7mil 2016 Choose Love Campaign Corporates In just over 3 years, they have built a strong charitable brand over social media, recruiting over 17.5k Twitter followers, 34.6k Instagram followers, 56.5k Facebook supporters, and just under 400 YouTube subscribers. But he shouldn’t be. It is also important to mention the incredible generosity of people across the world, which means volunteers constantly have donations to sort through. It is easy to feel helpless with a crisis of this scale, however, there are so many ways people can offer support. Many thanks for considering volunteering in Calais. Fast forward to January 2018 and Help Refugees have helped over 722,500 people, managed over 15,000 volunteers, ranging from a scores to thousands at any one time, for a period of a few hours to a few years, and Coronavirus Lockdown: Radicalisation Upturn. Items of clothing that are impractical for a refugee camp, that are not needed (there is a huge abundance of men’s large jumpers, and not a particularly high demand for this size), and items that are perhaps worth a lot of money and could cause other difficulties (who gets the designer leather jacket and who gets the other one? The brilliant Warehouse Wardrobe stall has been set up to tackle the problem of unsuitable donations. Portugal. I packed bags of urgently required donations to send to refugees in Dunkirk, with their dignity in mind. The work was not always varied, and not always ‘interesting’, but with a great team and the satisfaction of a job well done, it was always a good day in the warehouse. Every volunteer I encountered gave their all to what could at times be mundane or frustrating tasks. coordinate volunteers and set up a system of aid distribution in the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp. Moria camp fire: Now is the time for action. But I think that maybe, they are discriminated against, or not treated well, because of where they have come from or because they are refugees.”. “What struck me was how strong, kind and positive many of the refugees were. And finally, nothing with any flags or countries printed on. That people will treat you badly even after you have been through unimaginable trauma. Some of the organisations you can support are: What can you donate? Choose Your Destination. Keep your eye out for things like the Borderline play recently shown at the Cockpit theatre in London; events like Help Refugees’ ‘Choose Love’, which involved some great nights of live music in London; and other creative events across the country. Volunteer The organisations working in Calais are always keen for volunteers, especially in the wintertime where numbers dwindle, and need is highest. This is a humanitarian crisis, these are thousands of people with individual lives and stories and personalities, who have suffered, and who have aspirations for a brighter and safer future. It’s a simple but powerful message and it goes to the heart of everything we do. Organisations on the ground in Calais are desperate for volunteers to help carry out a variety of roles. Volunteer in Calais. With this in mind I aim to answer some key questions that I have been asked following my trip to Calais. EqualiTeach have launched a free educational resource for schools based on the good practice developed throughout the Free To Be programme. Find the best volunteer opportunities and volunteer organizations in Calais in cause areas like health and medicine, children and youth, education, community building, and more. Calais aid workers volunteering in the Jungle have been accused of having sex with migrants, some of whom are believed to be underage, according to a … A silk nightie? By browsing you agree to our use of them. To find out more about volunteering, go to the. People face a great many barriers in understanding […]. Keep connected, keep aware, and share accurate information to educate others. Join our mailing list, Powered by  – Designed with the Customizr Theme, Choose Love: My Volunteer Experience In Calais. If you can, choose love. They are on Facebook and Instagram and are always open to orders, ideas and support. In Calais, on the forecourt of two large warehouses, 24-year-old Hettie Colquhoun is giving the morning briefing to 50 volunteers, nearly all in their 20s. Indigo Volunteers focus on matching your skills and availability to projects in need of help. Help Refugees has 26 different projects, working in partnership with other organisations. More, Visit our partner Indigo Volunteers’ website to find out how you can support refugees in Greece, Bosnia and Serbia More. Does it mean you don’t have the same rights, or aren’t treated the same as everybody else?” I asked him, “What do you think the answer is, or should be?”, “I think, the answer should be that refugees have the same rights and are treated the same as everyone else. Happy birthday, Abhi, Calais Light’s most faithful refugee volunteer, who’s made 11 out of our 14 convoys over 3 years. Due to the ever-changing situation on the ground, and the overwhelming interest in volunteering, Indigo Volunteers are taking a step back to reassess the volunteer needs on the ground and therefore will not be accepting applications form fro one week. Naturally, in the days since, people have been asking me, ‘How was Calais?’ It’s not an easy question to answer, particularly because I’m not sure that my answer is exactly the answer people might be looking for. Collecting cash and physical donations, any little helps. Choose Love CALAIS BREAKING NEWS: 129 UNACCOMPANIED MINORS UNACCOUNTED FOR SINCE DEMOLITION Our teams have now completed a full and comprehensive census of the refugees remaining in Calais since the demolition of the Southern section of the camp and have found a total of 4946 refugees still living there including 1400 in the containers. I met some really interesting people and it really opened my eyes to the situation on the other side of the Channel.”, Can’t volunteer? A fellow volunteer from the warehouse has set up an online forum for showing solidarity for refugees called ‘Now We Make Tomorrow.’ The idea is simple: people can make something (literally anything, a cup of tea if that’s what you make best! Rwanda. Notes * I watched the documentary with two volunteers who’ve been working in Calais for over a year; another who’s been involved for over two years; and two of us who’ve been volunteering here full time for about three months. It’s sometimes the little things that make a difference: sending a set of Spiderman pyjamas to a two year-old boy, hoping he likes them better than the equally warm, but rather random mismatched alternatives. These are documented with a profile online to show refugees, and everyone, that there is solidarity and support out there.  The official camp in Calais, referred to as the ‘Jungle,’ was demolished in October 2016 (more info following the demolition can be found here). To find out more about volunteering, go to the Indigo Volunteers website, and if you have any further questions, please contact volunteer@indigovolunteers.org. Get involved with campaigns and marches; put pressure on the government by writing to your MP about the crisis, letting them know your views. enquiries@equaliteach.co.uk, Contact an individual in our team The Help Refugees slogan is a simple one, but sums up everything that needs to be said. ACCOMMODATION. 36€ a night) is popular in Calais, we recommend that women book in pairs or groups when booking rooms in a shared AirBnB apartments, there have been incidents and it is preferable that volunteers err on the side of safety.. The refugees haven’t been given the equipment they need – the mayor in Calais has given the camp just TWO skips for rubbish, which is ridiculous. Find out which items are most needed in Calais so that you know what to bring when you come to volunteer. More, Our incredible partners support over 1,500 people in Calais & Dunkirk. Other volunteers worked in the Refugee Community Kitchen, preparing (delicious) hot meals for refugees and volunteers alike, as well as packing up and distributing dry food packages. Help Refugees Limited, Company No 09842577, works under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, Charity No 1099682. Whether for a weekend or a month, help making hot meals with Refugee Community Kitchen or chopping firewood with the Calais Woodyard is … CHOOSE LOVE … N, 14 “As a young mixed-race girl growing up in the UK… I believe that it is important that we recognise that […]. Your email address will not be published. Volunteer at Imad’s Syrian Kitchen x Choose Love. by EqualiTeach | Published 16th August 2017-at dimensions 959 × 476 in Choose Love: My Volunteer Experience In Calais. A lot of the time we rely on media outlets to keep us up to date, and this leaves us vulnerable to the intrinsic bias of the media, who decide what to report and how to report it. July 10, 2019 / ... Calais may have been out of the media spotlight for the last couple of years but that doesn’t mean that the problem, or the people, have disappeared. He is right. It’s often really difficult here in the UK to have a full grasp of what is going on with the refugee crisis in France or elsewhere. There are people across the UK coming up with brilliant, creative and innovative ways to raise awareness, and to show solidarity with refugees in the UK. It’s best to always check for up-to-date information about which items are currently needed, but at the moment there is a real need for: From my experience in the warehouse I unfortunately have to specify not to donate dirty clothes… remember the people who will be using or wearing the donations.  Ask yourself what you would like to be given to keep yourself warm after a long, arduous and often emotional journey: someone’s old bobbly jumper with holes in the armpits? The pattern for our days in Calais was to spend the morning in the warehouse, sorting donations and making up food parcels or hygiene packs. While the main camp is no longer in Calais, the warehouse is still a key hub of activity, sending donations of food, shelter and clothing across France and further afield to Greece and Turkey. Volunteering in France is an impactful and insightful way to help refugees on the front line of the refugee crisis. School and Childcare Renovation Program. I worked for four days in the warehouse, sorting through clothes, ensuring they were clearly organised, labelled and ready to be sent to where they’re needed most. No matter how much time I spend in Calais or Dunkirk or elsewhere, I can’t ever truly understand or represent the experience of the refugees. In France, Help Refugees and Care4Calais both need voluntary support on the ground, as well as some other organisations: –Dunkirk Women and Children’s Centre– who are really in need of anyone available to help rebuild the centre, especially volunteers with practical skills and experience in this area. , thank you for your patience crisis in northern France ultimately incomprehensible anyone!, from talking to other volunteers and refugees alike work incredibly hard make. 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