Can we firstly just say that, on hearing the plight of the refugees in general, we personally did not want to donate money to a faceless charity but, having seen first hand the way these guys work at ground level, we have every confidence in Aid Box Convoy.
Therefore all proceeds from this appeal will immediately be handed to Aid Box Convoy so that every penny goes to areas that they deem to be priority.
Please look at their site :
The refugee camp in the area of Grande Synthe, a suburb of Dunkirk, had been labeled the ‘Forgotten Camp’.
We, a group of 4, went to this camp, having heard that they have no aid to talk about and that the refugees here needed everything, and I mean everything.
Most refugees arrive at the camp with nothing but what they have been able to keep hold of during their journey.
For the new arrivals, winter accommodation is either donated tents, polythene covered shelters or ramshackle huts; medical care is uncertain, food is scarce, and education for children is non-existent.
For our part, we decided to leave Bristol with the intention of offering up to 1400 hot meals to cold, hungry and desperate people.
We were lucky enough to have the support of aidbox convoy.
"Aid Box Convoy is a committed team of volunteers from Bristol in the UK, dedicated to the coordination, delivery and distribution of aid at refugee camps in northern France. We exist to provide humanitarian care to refugees and to offer support to the existing charities and organisations on the ground"
We arrived in grande synthe to be met by Sam from Aid Box Convoy who explained the situation to us and took us into the camp.
On first sight it could be intimidating, if not frightening; a shanty town of broken tents, plastic shelters and flooded muddy tracks.
We set up our gazebo and, helped by the refugees themselves, we managed to serve hot stew to over 1000 cold men, women and children. We had a non stop orderly queue for 6hrs, of people who thanked us in English, Kurdish or Arabic and were warm, appreciative and happy to share a joke and a smile.
I could go on forever, but the only real way that anyone could see the true plight that these people are going through would be to see it with their own eyes.
They are burning anything to keep warm. While we were there we saw people trying to light fires with nothing but plastic carrier bags!
There are showers, but they are cold and there’s no electricity so if they shower they are freezing.
With winter coming on perhaps some will not even survive the cold.
My experience of being at this camp is that these people are just like us. Moreover they could be us if it was our country being destroyed. And they need our help.
All they want is a normal, safe life for their family and children and the camps are as big a shock to them as they have been to us.