Help4Refugee Children traveled yesterday to see children in Northern France who have been not only brutally displaced from their home countries by war and terrorism but also shunned by every single European Government and brutalised and in some cases even beaten by police who are “just doing their jobs”. We saw a three-year-old with a baton bruise in his face. Every week the police go to the camp and dismantle everything which has been put up, to ensure that, nothing permanent is erected and to prevent the formation of a camp; we heard the heart-breaking story of a mother who when the police came had refused to leave her tent about to be bulldozed and told the police “no, I am not leaving, my baby is inside sleeping” the police officer then said “ok” and took out his pepper spray and sprayed her and the occupants of the tent.
There were many, many families, some of them had recently arrived and some had returned to gather following the destruction of the Jungle and the tragic and devastating fire in Dunkirk. The French authorities have played a sinister trick and removed the Jungle, making people believe that the problem is no longer there. However, this is a lie… refugees have not vanished into thin air; They are there, and they live in much worse conditions than we have ever seen.
We prepared and distributed 250 food packs, containing fruit, biscuits, water and bread plus an additional 30 for the smaller children with the support of Just Shelter who also offered their experience and support during the distribution which was seamless and above all, carried out in the most dignified way possible. We also had a limited supply of clothing and child care essentials which were given to the mothers.
We had planned creative arts therapeutic activities for the children, but when we set up, many adults asked to take part! So, we set up another station where adults got their creative groove on and produced stunning works!
For more pictures, please visit our Facebook page.
We also delivered almost 100 packs with essential survival items for the unaccompanied minors, donated by the Separated Child Foundation, supplied essentials requested by the Refugee Youth Service and Women Centre. We provided food donations for the RCK Kitchen and essential clothing items provided by Stand Up to Racism – South London. Furthermore, this trip was made possible by the funding of a van by the NUT, who collaborated with Stand Up to Racism by donating funds for the Euro-tunnel crossing and fuel.
This trip was only possible by the amazing collaboration of volunteers and organisations whose aims and focus were to help those most in need.
With special thanks to all of our volunteers and a warm mention of:
Heloise Heau who ran half a marathon in Paris to raise money towards this trip with which we supported the RCK Kitchen, Refugee Youth Service and Women’s Centre.
One person’s vision to provide “something for refugees” at the end of Ramadan – Joao Paqueno who was sponsored by Soledad Thompson to fund towards the food packs.
Thank you and thank you for reading our newsletter to all our supporters.
The Help4Refugee Children Team