Why do we need your art and your money…?

ArtWorksforaid (or as my good friend James Jones called it AforA)  went live 4 days ago – and I won’t lie – there are moments when I wonder ‘Oh my, is this going to work – are we going to be able to pull this off and raise these much needed funds?’ Funds to buy the urgent supplies like tarpaulin, tents, portable toilets, pots, scarves, socks, blankets, shoes, toothpaste, sleeping bags, food, water, soap ….you know the things we don’t have to think about because we have them in our cupboards.

Then just as I am feeling a little deflated and lost ….. I’ll get a reply to one of the trillion e-mails I am sending out. Or a phone call from an artist I admire and the list for contributors grows, a re-tweet, or a share from the FB page and suddenly I find the energy to keep going because I feel like we can do this! So, thank you for all the support you guys are showing. I know you are all really busy with your own deadlines, families and life in general, but just the fact that you are taking the time to do these things mean a lot to us at AforA – THANK YOU!

Many folk have been asking where the funds are going. My initial idea was to travel out to Calais with the supplies (that was my thinking two weeks ago) but my research has connected me to good people that are working tirelessly on the ‘frontline’ and attempting to do some incredible work.

People like Adam Kelwick, who is a key member of the Human Relief Foundation. HRF are also working in partnership with UN-Habitat, World Food programme, UNDP, World Health Organization, EU and Unicef. In fact I spoke to Adam yesterday and he will be attending the emergency meeting being held at Parliament today to talk about the refugee crisis. He has been working with his team on opening and establishing commutations with key members of the camps and managing teams to organise a more efficient way to distributed the much needed aid.

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The other initiative that is working on supporting the community in the camps is Art Refuge. Art Refuge UK is planning to undertake a two month art therapy pilot project from mid September 2015, in response to the severe and diverse psychosocial needs of the refugees and migrants living in the camp known as the ‘Jungle’ in Calais.

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“Boat journey” painted by a 14 year old unaccompanied asylum seeker from Egypt. He used the art therapy space in the Calais refugee camp to create this painting and talk with some of the men in the Medecins du Monde psychosocial tent. After this visit, he frequently returned to make images.

Bobby Lloyd who is a key member of the Art Refuge says ‘Throughout August, ArtRefuge UK art therapist Naomi Press worked in the camp for Medecins du Monde and with the support of their psychologist, started to trial an art therapy space in their new psychosocial support tent. This was rapidly full to capacity with men and teenagers seeking out a safe space within which to sit alone and with others, engage in art-making and begin to process some of their experiences. Naomi’s specialist training enabled her to respond sensitively to individuals’ verbal and non-verbal communications, to recognise and respond appropriately to signs of trauma and other mental health issues, and to bear witness through their images, to people’s traumatic stories and testimonies. The art-making space encouraged connections to be fostered between people, and human experience to be shared across different languages and cultures. Over this short time such a space already allowed a number of children and adults to start to recover some sense of meaning, agency, hope in an otherwise often helpless situation, and Naomi even witnessed small moments of joy.’

So, you see this is why I need your art, your support to spread the word and also for you to get your money out to buy the wonderful limited edition/original/prints artworks that are being donated. So we can support these good initiatives with the important work they are doing to not only help the refugees with nourishment and basic supplies for the body – but also for the on going therapy they will need to take care of their minds.

A small act of kindness….oh, and some cash for purchases is all we are asking for at AforA
; ) So we can help some more good people do their jobs to help good people that need it the most… see… win, win!

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