Refugee Aid for Calais, France
InSite students and staff joined some amazing and wonderful volunteers from various NGO's from the UK and France who are fiercely committed to keeping the displaced people of many different nations alive during the winter in Calais, France. The volunteers work without complaint and with great enthusiasm as they labor to provide basic human needs to hundreds who are trapped between the politics of the local communities and the countries they have fled as well as those in Europe.
The InSite team prepared over 400 blankets and sorted 1100 pairs of shoes, which will only last between 1-3 days as it has the local police routinely collect these items from the people at night as they try to sleep outside as there is no place for them to go.
The students interviewed longtime volunteers who have quit jobs, school and other "normal" pursuits to do what they can, laboring for the basic human rights for these people as no country wants to recognize their existence or take responsibility for their welfare. All levels of aid are in effect: providing clothing, food, essential information, wifi and mental/emotional support, to legal aid for individuals as well as legal cases involving inhumane treatment and violations of the Geneva Convention.
From our brief time there, we all left with paradoxical feelings: inspired and hopeful experiencing the commitment of the volunteers and the massive impact this small warehouse is having on those living under these brutal conditions, as well as a deep sadness and outrage with the inhumane treatment caused by social structures that prevent inclusion and support for those living in severe crisis.
We want to acknowledge the NGO's present who work tirelessly on behalf of thousands who have no voice: Refugee Community Kitchen, Utopia 56 and Auberge des Migrants all working together in a common warehouse space. InSite would like to thank Human Aid in Greece representatives Dominique and Eric for organizing our presence in the warehouse. Lastly, we'd like to thank everyone for donating the needed items as InSite collected over 10 cubic meters this past month.
For those of you supporting InSite students (click to see students and support our cause), a huge thank you as you are contributing to a massive learning curve bridging the gap between knowledge, experience and the complexities of our current world systems which so often clash with our ideals, causing us all to reimagine a world we all can live in with peace and opportunity. These students are our collective future play a significant role in creating a more just world.