Taking a smile to the Refugees: Calais Migrants

We will return to the Calais jungle for a couple of days, bearing music and treats to show those we meet they are worth it.

UPDATE

We have had to delay our trip: we got as far as London but events in France prevented us from fullfilling our project. It has not been abandonned. A new date will be set asap.

We are off on Saturday

Three of us are going for 2 days. We are taking a van full of jam, custard, honey and blankets along with half a dozen guitars, a few recorders, a couple of violins and some percussion inatruments, and theexpertise to run a music workshop. These things are not going to save lives, but they should give some respite. If we can, we shall get more provisions in France.We will go again at some point. .why? Because we think making someone smile is worthwhile.

Project:

We want to go return to the Jungle: this time we want to take nutritious treats like jam and we want to take a music workshop. We are communicating with a school and arts centre in the jungle to arrange this. This mission is not political: it is humanitarian.

Why this luxury?

When we asked people what life in the jungle was like, we were told: "See for yourself, it's what you see," "Boring, desperately boring," "Life is suspended. We are just waiting."  There was a sense of futility. It is easy to forget what a miserable, basic place it is because most of the people we met were positive, friendly, clean and decently dressed, though it's obvious their clothes are our cast-offs.

Why us?

Some organisaions are taking them lorry-fulls of clothing, food, building materials, medical supplies and other necessities. We want to take them a breath of fresh air, a smile, an experience. We want to show the people we meet that they are worth more than our rubbish. 

We think small groups can make a difference: we relieve the strain taken by long term volunteers on the ground and the people we meet can see that we come with love and compassion. This buoys them up. Some are refugees, others left their homes because they could not adequately support their families. They are all individuals who have felt it necessary to abandon their homes, belongings and everything familiar. Some have been in wretched camps for years.

Why do we need money?

This time we want to take over musical instruments, a friend who is a music activity leader and teacher. We want to spend a couple of days playing with them, talking to them, listening to them. The money will go towards transport and logistics firstly and then towards simple musical instruments to supplement those we are given. Any extra will be put towards future trips. Everything else will be donated.

We think small groups can make a difference: we relieve the strain taken by long term volunteers on the ground and the people we meet can see that we come with love and compassion. This buoys them up. Some are refugees, others left their homes because they could not adequately support their families. They are all individuals who have felt it necessary to abandon their homes, belongings and everything familiar.

Educational bonus:

We also want to take our story back to our community, which is a very white community, wary of the stranger.