Nicole Redfern, Devon Development Education staff member, and Pauline Hastings, another friend of DDE, have been involved in supporting refugees at Calais and are appealing for funds to help children as the camp closes. We think this is a cause that DDE supporters may wish to help – please see Nicole’s letter below. If you would like to contribute you can send your donation to DDE; we are pleased to help Nicole processing the donations; this is not a regular DDE project and your entire donation will go to help the refugees.
Please help to provide shoes and phones for the refugee children soon to be evicted from the Calais Jungle
Within the next few weeks, the French government will evict the 10,000+ people currently living in tents and shacks on a patch of wasteland next to a motorway in France.
By the latest count, there are 1,022 children and teenagers living alone in tents in the camp.
So far, “very limited information has been provided about measures proposed to ensure safe, adapted facilities for the unaccompanied minors”. Unless something is arranged soon, it is likely that when the camp comes down, many hundreds of children will have nowhere to go.
Which means that they are likely to start walking.
And when they start walking, they are likely to start disappearing. When the south part of the camp was demolished in March, 129 children ‘went unaccounted for’ which is a formal way of saying ‘we have no idea what happened to them’.
Before these young people are evicted, it is vital that they have proper shoes on their feet and phones in their hands.
Many of the boys are currently wearing broken flip-flops and falling-apart plastic sandals. This will be a big problem when the weather becomes cold and wet. It is an even bigger problem when they need to walk across Europe or run away from danger.
Phones mean access to information in their own languages. Phones can store photos of ID documents, essential for asylum applications, and videos which can be shown to officials to commence the asylum process. Most importantly, phones mean a number to call and GPS to pinpoint children’s locations in an emergency. In the absence of any formal scheme of support from the British or French governments, this is the bare minimum needed.
All funds raised will be used to meet the immediate needs of the children in the Jungle camp.
Please give what you can as soon as you can. Cheques payable to Devon Development Education can be sent to:
DDE, Exeter Community Centre, 17 St David’s Hill, Exeter, EX4 3RG
Other ways to help these children …
387 children of these young people are legally eligible to come to the UK, under the Alf Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Bill(209) or through the Dublin III Family Reunification Process.
Ask the government to expedite these cases [which have been identified by Safe Passage]
Raise your voice. Talk to people. Make them aware of what is happening in Calais – and not happening in the UK. Express your outrage to politicians.
Write to your MP (www.parliament.uk/mps-loard-and-offices/mps) .
Contact your local councillor. (democracy.devon.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx)