Demolition of the Calais Jungle, Refugees and What the Heck is wrong with us?

What is wrong with us?

I found myself asking this several times to Nath last night as we watched the BBC 10 o clock news. I haven’t watched it in months, its just too heartbreaking and disturbing for me, but with hurricane Matthew in the headlines and family in Florida I wanted to be in the know of the situation. Of course once again, or still rather, Syria is also in the headline with the all to0 familiar war torn images, screaming and injured children, rebel forces and starvation. Its been a while since I saw these things, I guess iv’e switched off and am enjoying life in my safe little bubble here in the UK, but then as I see these things I ask through watery eyes and a sick feeling in my stomach – “What is wrong with us?”!!

What is wrong with us as individuals that we can just ignore it, switch off, become desensitized.

What is wrong with us as human beings that I am still seeing the same images on my TV that I saw 15/20 years ago, but just in a different part of the world.

And what is wrong with us as a country that when these people, hungry and battered leave their homes, witness death and trauma, battle unimaginable things with very little over thousands of miles and finally make it to a safe place, who come here trusting for our help, we turn our backs! What is wrong with us that we can see and read about these awful scenarios and we can close our doors and we switch off. I wonder A LOT how they can risk so much and we can do so little? I don’t get it, but I know it absolutely breaks my heart to see it day in day out…Its all a big mess and we should be doing more! (Image source)

A child is covered with a sleeping bag as he waits with other migrants near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece, to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. More than 135,000 migrants have arrived on Greek islands so far this year, hoping to head north to other more prosperous European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

I don’t know the answer to this and nor do I know what I can do when all I am is a mother to an 11 week baby and 2 young school children recently leaving behind a student lifestyle here in Yorkshire. I don’t know how I, and my family can possibly make a difference to some many thousands of men, women and especially children, and to be honest I lack ideas. I hold my hands up and say I am doing next to nothing right now except when Iv’e asked Nath on numerous occasions how he would feel about me going to help in Calais but with a newborn it isn’t practical and he doesn’t think it wise right now…other than that and the odd donated tenner we have done next to nothing to help these people, our fellow men!

I guess what we have done or haven’t done to this point is irrelevant though because there is plenty that needs to urgently be done and can be done right now. Below are some selected campaigns that personally stood out to me that I felt were a good place to take action, (but google “refugees” or anything similar and plenty of service ideas and campaigns will come up)!

So Firstly donate supplies (or funds for supplies) for when they leave:

I am sure you are aware of plans to bulldoze and get rid of the Jungle in Calais (Again as we approach winter and Christmas I ask..What is wrong with people?) and right now CalAid and volunteers in the camp are working around the clock to ensure the refugees there are prepared. Last time it was bulldozed 120 kids went missing… As a parent, and one who has lost a child myself, it is this element that completely crushes me to the core. I read these stats, I hear these stories daily from around the world and see these disturbing images and just think we cannot be idle, this cannot be it for these kids and their families.

There are 1,000+ unaccompanied minors in the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp and urgent funds are being raised to cover the critical needs of these children in advance of the bulldozing of the camp. Eviction will begin before the end of this month, possibly within the next two weeks and by then every single unaccompanied child needs basic supplies to leave the Jungle safely.

 It is essential that each unaccompanied child has a modern mobile phone to call emergency services and send their location via GPS, with phone credit to contact non-emergency help, a solid pair of shoes and a backpack to carry their belongings. The cost of this bundle is £65. A guy called Max over there on the front line, and his colleagues work with these kids on the ground every single day and say there is no plan to transport them to safety during the imminent eviction, and they urgently need our support… you can contribute via their JustGiving page:

Next … For anyone who can (or wants to) get to London: There is a big protest in Parliament Sq on Saturday 15th October, to raise awareness and show the government, that we need to do more to help these children, both in Calais and in the EU. (Help Refugees Worldwide’s event on Facebook.)

And finally on Monday 24 October at 14:00 they are trying to get as many people as possible to go to Kings Cross station, with children if possible dressed as Paddington Bear, to put pressure on London councils to help unaccompanied refugee children.

You can of course try to round up a group and take supplies to Calais and help for yourselves, or find people that are and donate…but whatever it is please lets not switch off. It will not go away and we only need to read any of our national papers to know how truly shocking it is getting. I have things I am planning on working on that I will share on the blog soon enough, but in the meantime lets help however we are able.

“This moment does not define the refugees, but our response will help define us”. (Patrick Kearon)

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