WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
This summer's desperate refugee wave from Syria's Civil War swelled the 'Calais Jungle' from 1300 to 4000 inhabitants, making the situation strenuous to handle for those few charitable organization that had been helping in Calais already for years. The refugees of Calais are mainly young men, and they live with no clothes or food, except those donated by kind people, in leaky tents or on mattresses. They are facing the biggest challenge yet to come, an arduous winter to survive without adequate shelter from the elements.
HOW WILL THIS MONEY BE SPENT?
The main goal of this funding campaign is to contribute towards the shelters desperately needed in order to protect people in the Jungle this winter. There are many ideas out there on how this can be done, from UNHCR-rated tents which are grounded and with a fire source, to camping caravans or even to building shelters from waterproof materials. Several people and organizations with similar thoughts have already started collecting funds and buying different things (see the links below). As these actions are often spontaneous and immediate, they might not be the most efficient and effective way to proceed.
I decided to research and analyze options first, and only then to decide how to channel the funds for shelters. To do so I will primarily reach out to charities running all the aid in the Jungle. I will additionally consult experienced engineers and architects here in Cambridge and back home, as well as do my own online research. I will also be in touch with the other existing actions working on the shelters issue (see the links below). At the end of this campaign, on 30 September, I will donate the raised money towards those actions that have the most evidence to solve the issue appropriately.
WHO AM I?
I am a biology PhD student in Cambridge, and I am deeply stressed by the situation. I am also a Croatian native who survived four years of Yugoslavian civil war as a child, which left an indelible mark on me and my personality. My family and I were lucky not to be directly affected, but we spent years helping our distant relatives and friends struggle through life-threatening situations. I joined the Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group in order to learn more about the refugee problems in Calais and to find out the most beneficial ways to help for the coming winter.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING APART FROM FUNDRAISING?
As a part of Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group, I will be traveling to Calais throughout the winter to bring aid (food and clothing) collected in Cambridge and to volunteer at the site. A convoy organized by the Cambridge aid group will be going regularly every two weeks, and I will join them on 3 October. I will also be involved in coordinating Cambridge collections. For these actions, I will not be using the funds raised through this campaign, but rather my personal money, together with a group of friends who share my concerns for the situation.
Aid travels to Calais are happening in a highly organized manner and volunteers are discouraged to travel unannounced - if no charity on the ground is expecting your arrival, you won't be admitted to deliver goods. Rather, we suggest joining any of the existing actions in your local community.
WHY SHOULD YOU DONATE RIGHT HERE?
While people's actions and efforts in the Calais crisis have been overwhelming in the past weeks, they have been mainly spontaneous. This way of giving and helping is often not the most efficient one, and it can create additional problems instead of solving them. Should you decide to make a donation here, you are choosing to support a rational and well-thought action, which will be informed by experts on the challenges the refugees are facing. In this way, I am hoping that we can have a more profound effect
However, if you live in an affected poorer area, as for example Balkans, I would kindly ask you to act locally and help the refugees in your own region instead.
I WOULD LIKE TO DONATE BUT NOT FOR THIS CAUSE, WHERE SHALL I PROCEED?
If you are interested in donating everyday items needed in Calais e.g. food and clothing, please join the FB group 'Calais – People to People Solidarity – Action from UK', or more specifically for Cambridgeshire residents 'Cambridge Calais Refugee Action Group'.
If you are interested in helping MOAS keep their sea base and save thousands of lives yearly (probably the most compelling action running!): People's Armada
If you are interested in donating towards the most problematic 'hot spot', Kos, I suggest donating to amazing Kos Kindness action – you can also find their FB group, or donate through their
If you are interested in donating directly towards protection for children in Syria:
If you are interested in hosting an asylum-seeking child in the UK:
Home for Good
DISCLAIMER: If it miraculously happens that Calais shelter problem is solved by the end of this campaign, or the evidence suggest there are other higher priority issues (such as electricity/gas/heating/food), money will be donated for other refugees' causes, again directly towards running charities/campaigns/actions.