I wanted to take a moment to share my daily newsfeed with you. I’m following or in touch with the AMAZING people working tirelessly in Calais right now. So, I get to see the real news of what is happening on the ground and not what the mainstream media like to interpret as the events. I hope that you will be able to see the same urgency that I can and why I work so hard to raise this money – why I annoy you with e-mails about donations, cake sales and auctions. Winter is coming – it is clear the people in power are not going to help as soon as they need to or are required too. The work on the ground is being done by volunteers – people like you and me – they hope to make a difference in someone else’s life. HOPE – it means a…
A wonderful friend and amazingly talented bespoke Jewellery designer Melanie Muir has generously donated this wonderful “Reggae Necklace” (worth £600/$US930 – which won International Bead Dreams Polymer First Prize last year) to our fundraising cause. To claim your chance of a win simply go to the Justgiving page link HERE Buy a ‘virtual raffle’ ticket by donating £5 – leave a comment ‘Responding to Melanie Muir’ (you can buy as many mutiples of £5 as you like, which will give you more tickets/chances to win). Starting NOW 19th October 2015 and ending at midnight GMT this Thursday 22nd October 2015. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to win an amazing work of art – don’t miss your chance!
See her working her magic in the video below. Thank you Melanie – You are AMAZING!
I wanted to take a moment to share my daily newsfeed with you. I’m following or in touch with the AMAZING people working tirelessly in Calais right now. So, I get to see the real news of what is happening on the ground and not what the mainstream media like to interpret as the events. I hope that you will be able to see the same urgency that I can and why I work so hard to raise this money – why I annoy you with e-mails about donations, cake sales and auctions. Winter is coming – it is clear the people in power are not going to help as soon as they need to or are required too. The work on the ground is being done by volunteers – people like you and me – they hope to make a difference in someone else’s life. HOPE – it means a lot to someone that you care about them … Please help with donations or visit our FB page and buy some art!
20th October 2015
Fears for migrants in France as winter comes to Calais – By David Courbet October 18, 2015 1:49 AM
Calais (France) (AFP) – Winter is coming to France’s port town of Calais, raising fears among aid groups about worsening conditions for the thousands of migrants living in a makeshift camp.
Nighttime temperatures have dropped to around five degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) in the “New Jungle” camp, located next to the Calais ring road, and will keep falling in the coming months.
The sound of hammers echoes through the camp’s winding slum-like alleys as migrants try to reinforce crude shelters made of wood and salvaged material against the creeping cold.
“I have nothing to insulate it with,” says Abdulilah, an Afghan in his fifties who is building a shack. “I’ll wear an extra sweater provided by the organisations”.
The changing weather and uncertainty surrounding a new crisis centre announced by the government this summer has alarmed the area’s humanitarian organisations.
“We trudge through the mud,” said Francois Guennoc, a camp volunteer with the aid group L’Auberge des Migrants. “There are places where water pools and it gets very difficult.”
“We are buffeted by the wind, the rain, and the cold. It’s even worse than the previous ‘jungles’,” he added.
Since September, illegal crossings to England from the port or the Eurotunnel — they were up to 150 per day in August — have slowed amid tighter security.
But migrants and refugees keep coming and, predictably, the “New Jungle” has swelled.
The number of residents is now estimated to hover between 4,000 and 6,000 people, up from 2,500 in early June.
“We are on the brink of collapse,” said Jean-Francois Corty, head of the French division of Doctors Without Borders. “The social welfare system is inadequate and so are the delays to process asylum applications”.
“It is unacceptable for a country, the sixth biggest world economic power, to support that,” he added.
Another volunteer, from the SALAM charity organisation who preferred to stay anonymous, went so far as to invoke a “concentration camp”.
S Louise – Volunteer Calais
So as the fog of exhaustion has lifted from 27 hours up on an aid convoy to Calais I wanted to share with you all my own personal experience.
The ‘jungle’ is grim, its wet, muddy and squalid. There are tents as far as the eye can see and make shift shacks which have a variety of purposes, some are churches, mosques, first aid, and small restaurants where they club together food from the aid parcels to cook and share together. Some sit together in the evenings to share their food. Everyone is there for a common purpose and they support each other.There are a few stand pipes of water but I believe it’s not for drinking it still needs to be boiled down but people que a take turns without incident.
The camp is on a flood plain so is often very wet and flooded. There is row after row of tents, big and small many damaged with tarp helping keep them somewhat water tight. We are up to our ankles in mud the majority of the time and with wellies it’s manageable just about to walk about. But many of the people I saw were wearing flipflops some wear odd shoes and one young boy of around 10 wearing a flip-flop on one foot and and ill fitting trainer on the other.
There are many women and children there, more than I had expected. The first person I met in the camp was a young woman called Mimi. She was 6 months pregnant. She tapped on our van window desperate for drinking water. She told me how she fled Syria after her brothers and mother were killed by ISIS and she left with her son and husband to find safety. Somewhere in Sudan she ended up separated from them. She has no idea where they are or if she will ever find them again. She walked here across many countries wearing flip-flops and just the clothes on her back. She has been there 3 months and hopes to come to England because we are ‘kind people’ who can help her find work. She was so kind and even worried about me getting wet as it was raining hard. She kept fussing about my hood covering my hair telling me I would get wet and cold. I cried, gave her my shoes, a jacket some water and a hug. She told me how she will most likely give birth in the camp, she won’t get much if any support medically. I will never forget her and pray she makes it to safety very soon.
12th October 2015 – 23 hours ago – A Giuliano
This is me helping a baby and their father get to a drier place after a long night of heavy rain, long blackouts AND ALMOST TOTAL LACK OF MEDICAL AID AND EFFECTIVE USAGE OF RESOURCES FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES (E.G. pOLICE – small P absolutely intended!) in Preševo.
SOME CHILDREN ALMOST DROWNED in tents while their parents were desperately trying to seek for help from the police, and afterwards, when these children were developing hypothermia, there were ABSOLUTELY NO DOCTORS to take care of them, and the police (controlling the entrance to the registration camp where doctors are available) KICKED OUT the volunteers who were bringing half naked, trembling and purple-lipped children to the only medical facility available (at the registration camp) because “stay in the line and queue like everyone else”.
The ONLY medical aid outside the registration camp is Humedica, consisting of 3 doctors who work for 4 ridiculous hours a day or so – NOT KIDDING. Furthermore, the registration center decided to close between 3am and 7am, creating a huge line of several hundreds of people left waiting either in the mud or in the water, sometimes LITERALLY up to their knees!
Somehow I feel like everybody, ESPECIALLY THE EU, are expecting us, activists and volunteers, to take care of situations THEY should be solving instead of always acting at the very last minute only because they can no longer ignore the problem in front of their faces. THIS IS A SHAME.
14 hours ago – S Amin
I stepped off the mini bus as I entered the Calais camp knows as the Jungle.
A young Iraqi boy caught my eye, he was walking in this camp that was so unfit for human life. I imagined my own daughter in his place, what would I have done if my daughter was in his place?
I approached his father, an engineer from Iraq, I asked him how he was, what he wanted. He replied “I just want roof for my boy, and food”
Words I have never heard before from a fellow human, how can I hear these words when I have lived a life of relative comfort. But to hear these words made me realise how truly tragic it is for a father to feel so helpless that he doesn’t have the basic necessities to feed his child.
He was once an engineer, today he finds himself in an alien camp… What crime did he commit but to live in a land that has become war ravaged. That was his only crime…. A crime I say…a crime.
2 hours ago – A Thompson Is there any way to support some of the young people in the camp more individually? I can’t stop thinking about a boy we have befriended on both our visits now. He’s only 14 and there on his own and it breaks my heart to think of him trying to get on the trains every night. If there was a way I would happily bring him over and support him, financially and emotionally but given that’s probably not possible, is there any way to help individuals while they are there?
BBC Magazine – By Eloise Dicker
Syrians leaving their homes for the safety of Europe often rely on people smugglers to help them reach their destination. But it’s impossible to know who to trust and things can go wrong. One woman ended up seeing a man, whose real name she didn’t even know, walk off with her one-year-old daughter.
Zizit knew she had to leave Syria when she became a target for snipers and a bullet hit her car.
She had taken a job as a doctor in a hospital in Damascus where an Islamic militant group approached her and demanded that she go and work for them. When she refused, the death threats started.
“They tried to kill me twice,” she says. Afraid for her one-year-old daughter, Maya, Zizit decided she had no choice but to leave. “I was not happy to leave Syria, I love my country. I left for my baby, not for myself.”
Zizit and her brother Ghassan took Maya to Turkey. The first smuggler they met promised to take them to Greece over land for $13,500 – they paid up front and waited for him to collect them from a hotel. But after a few days they realised he wasn’t coming back.
They then turned to another smuggler who sold them a place on a small inflatable dinghy. After a traumatic journey in the middle of a storm they reached Greece – their boat bursting when it was dashed against the rocks on arrival. Read more about Zizit’s harrowing story here
Hands up who is going to put the heating on when they get home tonight? £500 for a heavily discounted rare piece of art kindly donated by a critically acclaimed artist = keeping 19 families warm this winter.
They may not be able to thank you personally – but that is the joy of random acts of kindness! Just knowing that you have made a difference in someone else’s life fills you with joy – no? Take a look at how else you could make the difference with your bids and donations…
Help us help others with a small donation or go to our FB page and bid on a piece of art. Thank you!
Ralph Steadman has kindly donated 3 beautiful and very rare etchings for our AforA auction. They are priced at double the auction price in the Gallery! One has already been snapped up, so two remain. We will be putting another up this Friday – so be ready with your bids, this really is a once in a life time chance to own a limited edition Ralph Steadman etching at half the price! With all the money going to a very good cause.
Ralph also kindly recorded this message so we could share it with you all. Please dig deep and help us help others. Thank you Ralph Steadman. Please dig deep if you don’t want to bid or purchase art, any amount is welcome. You can visit our Just Giving page here – it is safe and completely secure.
“I’m going to call my painting “Artwork of Heart“. I called my picture this because it’s beautiful to love.
“Red’s an important colour because it’s your heart and hearts are normally red and hearts are loving.
“The love hearts are to make people happy and if they have love hearts on it it’s more beautiful and will probably make more money to give to the people in Calais. And it will make even more because it has glitter on. The glitter is sparkly and is to make people happy.”
“I’d like the picture to go to Calais so they can put it up on their tent wall.
“I hope it makes loads and loads and loads of money for the people in Calais.”
Over the last two weeks we have managed to raise £770 in our Just Giving Page with your help for Art Refuge UK. You should be proud of yourselves!
Art Refuge UK is an amazing charity that supports displaced people through art and therapy. I thought you would like to see how your money has been working in Calais and how your donations can continue to help many people over the coming months. If you would still like to donate please go here and make a donation of any amount. Every single penny helps Art Refuge UK do amazing work though Art Therapy.
“We were very aware that as we approached the camp early on Thursday morning there were many individuals, particularly young individuals, already doing the same journey on foot from Calais’ centre. Later in the day we were advised by one young man returning to work with Art Refuge UK in the tent again this week, that, unable to sleep or settle in the camp, he had walked towards Dunkirk and back again from 8pm until 4am. We were struck by the visible journey one young boy and his father were taking, walking to and from the camp – the young son almost seemingly propping up a weary father on one side and a large teddy bear with dragging limbs on the other. We passed them on two separate occasions today – once on arrival to the camp this morning and then at the end of the day. Many steps having been taken in the hours that passed in between.
“A large-scale world map was introduced to the space, in response to many a shared story last week by individuals recounting their long and difficult journeys. A young man from Egypt, another from Pakistan, then two young men from Sudan, who stitched their steps in to the map, often stopping to catch a breath as if the needle piercing paper reminded them of all they have had to endure. We bore witness to the resting place of a lost friend or a point in their journey where they were forced to change tracks. At other times individuals shared their journeys with others as they selected coloured beads which represented family or home, and there seemed to be a feeling of solidarity and support in those moments.
“At times it was extremely helpful that there were different materials and spaces for art-making within the tent, which gave people a different perspective and focus in order to find some distance. Print-making was continued from last week alongside a range of other activities – bracelet making, painting, poetry writing amidst conversations around peace, home, familiar landscapes of the past, dreams and aspirations of the future. We should also acknowledge the capacity for human connectivity, resilience and good spirit. Songs were sung, laughter was shared, the space was reflected upon as a space where people could forget and yet have strength in their own identity.
“There seemed to be more children in the main camp this week, and the group was attended by a woman, who was extremely keen to find a space as peaceful as the church that she attends daily – a space where she could work through not only her loss of home and her harrowing journey but abuse and persecution on route. We’ve had some really positive conversations and thinking with Medecins du Monde France about our collaboration to support particularly vulnerable individuals, such as women and those suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Really enriching working together, we look forward to updating you further!”