Calais Refugee Camp

A cause supporting a cause… because solidarity helps strengthen community. 

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In April 2014 with Embercombe Apprentice Mission 2015 we went to Calais Refugee Camp to set up a temporary community kitchen in the New Jungle described as  a ‘ desolate wasteland, in the shadow of the motorway and a chemical factory on the outer edge of Calais, France’s first official, state-sanctioned migrant slum.’

We served over 3000 meals over 4 days in 3 different migrant camps around the city. 

We distributed 100 food packs containing lentils, flour, toothpaste, coffee, tea, bombay mix, millet, granola and wheat and gave out 400 duvets, tents, clothes and shoes. 

We set up a solar powered phone charging station using the solar panel installed on the Food Rescue Ambulance.
#PedalPower Bike Generator Project 
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In October 2014 we returned to the Jungle to recreate a community kitchen and provide bike powered phone charging generators!

We made many friends who are living in the Jungle for various reasons.

  • Some have spent years ( up to 10) seeking asylum in countries across Europe and have been rejected from all only to finish in Calais the last place left.
  • Some have been seeking asylum in France but are receiving no support from the French government so have to live in the Jungle whilst they wait.
  • Some are waiting to cross to the UK because they have friends and family living there, or have heard that the UK has the best employment opportunities since the recession hit Europe ( many have left Greece and Italy due to the lack of work).
  • Some have been living and seeking asylum in the UK for several years and have been deported/left voluntarily and don’t know what the future holds.

The people we met came from Eritrea, Syria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Somalia and are fleeing persecution, conflict, torture and famine.

They cooked with us, they cleaned and served food with us, we drank tea and coffee together, played frisbee and football, exchanged language greetings, drew, hugged and laughed.
Being able to create a positive presence of support, solidarity and love that fed souls rather than just bodies was probably the most powerful action that we could have given.
We felt that this was what the people in Calais valued more than anything.
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