REFUGEE CHILD is a non political group who believe that children in desperate conditions deserve help no matter how they came to need it. Children do not choose to leave their homes. Children do not choose to be orphaned. Children are children.
Everyone involved in this charity is a volunteer, usually funding their own work and contributing what they can to the cause. There are no major charities or government agencies to provide support in these areas. Just a handful of overwhelmed volunteers.
While being a small newly formed charity means that they have very limited resources it does mean that they are Unconstrained by red tape, political considerations and bureaucracy and the slow decision making processes of large corporations, They can act fast, and they need to.
Rather than write my own description of what they do I have copied posts and pictures from the volunteers themselves. Please take some time to read their stories and please give what you can:
"There are children with not even a bin bag or a coat. I've had women holding up seriously sick babies to me all day. I've had a pregnant woman collapse in my arms and having a seizure: it was 20 minutes before they let her through. A woman has had a miscarriage yesterday and lost the baby."
"People, this is a massive emergency call for help. The situation in Moria is utterly catastrophic. We need organisations to come there. The queue for registering is 2 km long, many people do not have tents, there is no shelter. There is a handful of us volunteers in moria (*refugee camp on Lesvos), there are no organisations except for once a day food distribution which is nowhere near enough for everyone. I've had people holding half dead babies up to me the whole day and we have nowhere to send them. All the NGO's are inside and doctors only very rarely come out. Tomorrow will be a disaster : there are no dry clothes for anyone, no shelter, there are children sleeping in bin bags, no food, no blankets, no diapers for babies. No access to drinking water for the people in the back of the line, people will go to sleep wet and cold tonight in the open air, half the people will wake up sick, some people will die I am sure of it. We urgently need medics on the ground, some form of sheltering and dry clothes. Please please help, we are just a few volunteers by ourselves without resources but people are looking at us to help but we can do nothing." ( * = explanation added)
"the volunteer, like me, zipped open a tent and looked inside, the woman sitting on the floor begged her to kill her family."
"We, the volunteers in Moria, are completely desperate. I am completely desperate. The situation is inhuman, it is not possible that this is happening to people in Europe. Yet it is happening, my god it's happening and people are dying out there, people are collapsing in my arms and dozens of babies will die of hypothermia over the next few days."
"A passed out woman is dragged in, babies drenched in their blankets. These are the scenes I see before my eyes like a horror film I cannot switch off. The rain has been completely torrential and hasn't stopped for 3 days."
"Hi everyone. I'm sorry I ignored you all yesterday. I literally couldn't process what I had seen and just couldn't find any words. I know you've all donated and tried hard so you deserve the feedback. I wanted to wait until I had had some sleep (yeah right). So here is just a tiny (but lengthy) snapshot of my experience so far.
This is a description of a first visit to The Jungle in Calais from the lady who is the driving force behind Refugee Child, this the experience that motivated her to take action: "Entering "The Jungle" is probably the most bizarre experience I've ever had in my life. One second you're in Calais, its normal. Nothing out of the ordinary to see here. Them bam. You're transported to what looks like a third world country. We drive in and straight away people come to the side of the dirt path road wondering what you are doing there and hoping it might mean some sort of help for them. After only seconds we see some children. The "guides" we are with stop to talk to them. We stop too. They are so young and look so sad and broken already. We give them a small gift of some pens etc. They smile but that half smile you'd do if you'd just lost your job and your house and your dog had died and someone sent you some "thinking of you" flowers.
We carry on and park up to hand out donated food from the back of a van. Quickly there is an orderly queue forming. More orderly than what you see at Asda on Christmas Eve and these people are hungry. The queue goes on for longer than I can see. We give one small tin and a piece of fruit to each person. There's something so wrong about the personal aspect of the giving. It doesn't sit well with me and I feel uncomfortable. In Britain if you fall on hard times you are provided with help in a more dignified way. You don't have to go and pick it up from someone that you have to thank. Each and every thank you makes me feel dirty. Then the food runs out..... But the queue is still there. For well over an hour these people have queued hungry but calmly and now we have to tell them "I'm sorry but not today, maybe tomorrow". I'm really starting to feel it by this point but I hold it together.
We drive to the storage unit to unload any clothes etc that we have. The volunteers there are making the best out of what they've got but it looks like a jumble sale gone wrong. They simply don't have the time to organise it any better.
Then we are taken to the part of the camp where the women and children are. We hand out toys. The kids are excited and not as patient as the adults. It's like Christmas Day. It's amazing. We stay and play with the children. We sit on the floor in the dust . One of the ones I'd seen earlier sits on my lap and there he stays for the whole time. A huge bag of loom bands explodes everywhere and one little boy teaches me how to make them, I've often wondered. Then we all sit making them together. The little boy who taught me wants to give his finished band away to us!! I'm humbled. What he has, he wants to give away. I forget where I am for what seems like a long time. I could sit here forever doing this. But I can't. Someone says it's time to leave and starting to well up I have to remove the child from my lap and kiss him goodbye. I don't want them to see me crying so I quickly get in the back of the van. I'm broken. I'm sorry but I can't write anymore just now."