Organisations on the ground in Calais are desperate for volunteers to help carry out a variety of roles. Empathy please. 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…). One of the charities, Help Refugees, has been operating in Calais since September 2015 and has a warehouse based there. "Gifts from the Choose Love store provided thousands of meals for people living in camps through the cold winter months. Perhaps not. Find out which items are most needed in Calais so that you know what to bring when you come to volunteer. Featured Destinations See All Destinations. Through working within the refugee camps in Calais, you will get to know those fleeing their countries for a wide variety of reasons and also become part of the Care4Calais community – we are a friendly team and your help will make a big difference. VOLUNTEER IN CALAIS Support refugees in Northern France. The Help Refugees slogan is a simple one, but sums up everything that needs to be said. Register Login Donate Login Donate Part of what makes With Love so special is the community of volunteers who all care passionately about the same thing—rallying around foster families with love, encouragement and support. 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. A silk nightie? Help Refugees works in collaboration with Indigo Volunteers to connect volunteers with grassroots projects responding to the refugee crisis in northern France. Choose Your Destination. CHOOSE LOVE … There are also organisations based in Dunkirk, for example the Women and Children’s centre, which offers a safe place to go during the day, with regular classes, workshops and games taking place. What would you like for 2017? 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? Networking and Connection (with each other and the Choose Love team) Early Access to New Programs and Revisions Please note: because this is a new and improved platform, everyone will need to register again – even if you have registered in the past. Read Volunteer Stories. A whistleblower took to Facebook to accuse volunteers … Volunteers and refugees alike work incredibly hard to make a dent clearing the waste on Saturday, side by side, united together. 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. Every volunteer I encountered gave their all to what could at times be mundane or frustrating tasks. Whether you can give two days, two weeks or two months, we need your help! Visit the online Choose Love store today (www.choose.love) and buy gifts that will make a real and powerful impact to the lives of families living in some of the world’s most appalling refugee camps. Home » Choose Love: My Volunteer Experience In Calais » Choose Love. 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? Our site uses cookies. Choose Love is a grassroots charity, with various projects based in Calais through to Syria. 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.”. 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. 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. But do we always need to fully understand or relate to an experience to empathise? More, Our incredible partners support over 1,500 people in Calais & Dunkirk. In the USA, Choose Love, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, and gifts are tax-deductible as allowed by law. He is right. Required fields are marked *, By Rachel: rachel@equaiteach.co.uk   International Women’s Day is here again, celebrating the achievements of women throughout history. And to spend the afternoon out in the settlements, distributing goods and providing services. 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. These experiences are ultimately incomprehensible to anyone who has not been through them. Zimbabwe. 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. Each purchase comes with a beautiful, easy to share e-card. * This blog is written from my own experience in Calais, from talking to other volunteers and doing further reading. ), are resold to volunteers and their friends and all the money goes directly back into the charity. Everything on the menu is a dish his mother cooked in Syria. Calais Jungle volunteers accused of 'sexually exploiting' camp's refugees. Help Refugees, as well as working practically to send donations, also focuses on helping refugees to maintain dignity and identity. We can help, we can change things, if we work together, and if we Choose Love. These are documented with a profile online to show refugees, and everyone, that there is solidarity and support out there. It is easy to feel helpless with a crisis of this scale, however, there are so many ways people can offer support. To ensure safe and responsible volunteering, all organisations have conducted a thorough risk assessment of their operations. There are multiple ways that you can get involved with our organization: AirBnB accommodation (from approx. 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. Keep connected, keep aware, and share accurate information to educate others. EqualiTeach is a not-for-profit organisation providing high quality, interactive training and support on issues of equality, diversity and inclusion. 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 School and Childcare Renovation Program. Get involved with campaigns and marches; put pressure on the government by writing to your MP about the crisis, letting them know your views. 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 official camp in Calais, referred to as the ‘Jungle,’ was demolished in October 2016 (more info following the demolition can be found here). It is no small task to co-ordinate a warehouse full of donations; finding the best way to support the thousands of people who’ve been forced to flee their homes and countries. Portugal. From USD 729. To find out more about volunteering, go to the. 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. Volunteer. Happy birthday, Abhi, Calais Light’s most faithful refugee volunteer, who’s made 11 out of our 14 convoys over 3 years. Since my return, there has unfortunately been a fire at the Women and Children’s centre, so volunteers are working hard to rebuild what was a crucial part of the camp. Volunteering in France is an impactful and insightful way to help refugees on the front line of the refugee crisis. I was moved by the immediacy with which I felt part of the community there. … 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. Choose Love. From USD 379. Are some lives more worthy of saving than others that we only take action when the media reminds us of the children? With this in mind I aim to answer some key questions that I have been asked following my trip to 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. 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. 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. N, 14 “As a young mixed-race girl growing up in the UK… I believe that it is important that we recognise that […]. Our vision is an equal, inclusive and diverse society where everyone is valued and able to succeed. 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. Join our mailing list, Powered by  – Designed with the Customizr Theme, Choose Love: My Volunteer Experience In Calais. It is not just the work on the ground in France and beyond which matters. This being said, volunteers are innovative and not at all wasteful. Chopping onions to pumping tunes. Some of the organisations you can support are: What can you donate? But instead, I choose to write about Love. And finally, nothing with any flags or countries printed on. 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. Of course, being there gave me a further understanding of the harsh reality of this crisis. 170 Likes, 3 Comments - Choose Love / Help Refugees (@chooselove) on Instagram: “Calais Update - dismantlements and crimes of solidarity Another large scale dismantlement at the…” Indigo Volunteers focus on matching your skills and availability to projects in need of help. The day aims to inspire […], Terminology around issues of equality and diversity is a sticking point for many people. Coronavirus Lockdown: Radicalisation Upturn. Choose Love. If you can, choose love. 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. Help Refugees was born. Refugees were registered and transferred to accommodation centres across France; the suitability, safety and quality of which varies from place to place. Over the Christmas break, I spent four days volunteering in Calais with the grassroots charity Help Refugees. Exclusive: The allegations have caused anger and division among charity workers at the camp I packed bags of urgently required donations to send to refugees in Dunkirk, with their dignity in mind. To find out more about volunteering, go to the Indigo Volunteers website, and if you have any further questions, please contact volunteer@indigovolunteers.org. Help With COVID-19 Help Refugees Limited, Company No 09842577, works under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, Charity No 1099682. Can we only be expected to care if provided with just the right image to tug on the heartstrings? Moria camp fire: Now is the time for action. Your email address will not be published. Larger organisations, for example the UNHCR (The United Nations Refugee Agency), are also providing various forms of humanitarian assistance. Rwanda. Equaliteach CIC Youth Hostel For volunteers staying for three or more nights, there is a discounted rate at a local hostel. Choose Love – Volunteering in France. ️ He’s brought his friends with him each trip & his Mum. These grassroots organisations rely on the generosity of donors to do what they do. 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. Your email address will not be published. Our partners are always in need of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers. It’s a simple but powerful message and it goes to the heart of everything we do. 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. I was inspired: so many volunteers were giving up their Christmas breaks to be there.  They also told me of all sorts of creative and innovative ways that they support and offer solidarity at home. 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. Collecting cash and physical donations, any little helps. 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. Love Volunteers is the REAL deal!" My experience was one of community, positivity, support, strength and spirit. 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. Volunteer in Calais . 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. This could range from helping out in the warehouse to translating for detained refugees in detention centres. People may be almost disappointed to know I didn’t meet or directly work with a single refugee. 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. 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. 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. Volunteer The organisations working in Calais are always keen for volunteers, especially in the wintertime where numbers dwindle, and need is highest. EqualiTeach have launched a free educational resource for schools based on the good practice developed throughout the Free To Be programme. 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. 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. Thank you! 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. Choose Love is a restricted fund under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund, UK Charity No 1099682. Already, in the weeks since my return, so many people have expressed interest and concern, and a genuine desire to find out more, clearly feeling unsure of where to find the answers. Donate . 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 … Whether for a weekend or a month, help making hot meals with Refugee Community Kitchen or chopping firewood with the Calais Woodyard is … Help Refugees has 26 different projects, working in partnership with other organisations. 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? It is also important to mention the incredible generosity of people across the world, which means volunteers constantly have donations to sort through. 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! This is what we are showing our children. Find out more about our work. 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. For more detailed information about the refugee crisis see the organisations mentioned above, or take a look at the Red Cross or UNHCR, who are also following and tackling the crisis. Volunteer Projects in Europe. People face a great many barriers in understanding […]. ACCOMMODATION. That people will treat you badly even after you have been through unimaginable trauma. 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. Volunteer Projects in Africa. 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. ), take a picture of it, and add a note or message of support for refugees. Help Refugees will use the information you provide here to send you all the latest news from the refugee crisis, and information on how you can help. And so, the final question: What can we do to help? A giant banana onesie? They are on Facebook and Instagram and are always open to orders, ideas and support. By browsing you agree to our use of them. £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. 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. enquiries@equaliteach.co.uk, Contact an individual in our team Weʼre raising money to to take to Calais when volunteering with Help Refugees. We can help, we can change things, if we work together, and if we Choose Love. It’s run incredibly democratically, with long-term volunteers taking the lead on co-ordinating different areas, but always open to new ideas, input and expertise. Try to think practically but compassionately. The brilliant Warehouse Wardrobe stall has been set up to tackle the problem of unsuitable donations. 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. It was incredibly frustrating to hear story upon story of refugees, who have the right to claim asylum and have a safe, secure future, being denied that right through bureaucracy, gaps in the system and lack of support and action from governments across Europe. Learn what items we need now! 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. 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. Choose Love. 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. Despite the demolition of the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp, thousands of refugees are still in Northern France. Transgender Kids: Who knows best? 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