I am currently volunteering in the "Jungle," a refugee camp in Calais, France. As it's not an offical refugee camp - the government doesn't recognise it as such - NGOs are not allowed to work inside. Therefore, all aid efforts rely on small, grassroots organisations. The only charity work that operates comes from donations that are distributed by volunteers.
I am working with Help Refugees/L'Auberge, a charity distributing donations of food, clothes, bedding, tents etc. for up to 10,000 refugees living in the Jungle.
I work in the Welcome Caravan, the distribution point for blankets, sleeping bags, tents and tarps. We also help refugees that have just arrived, providing them with tents, camping mats, bedding and toiletries; as well as explaining services that they can use in the jungle: e.g. cooking ingredients, hot food, kitchenware, clothes and legal advice.
I would love to stay here for six months (if not more) to help at the refugee camp. Due to the nature of the organisation volunteers must cover their own living expenses. I am able to live very cheaply, and can manage to cover basic food and travel expenses. However, unfortunately not for free, I pay €5/night for a bed in a static caravan on a nearby campsite.
For every €5 I receive I can stay another night, €35 an extra week, €150 an extra month etc. Ideally I would like to commit to six months here, which is why I am attempting to raise €900 (£750). Every €5 allows me another day to help refugees arriving or those waiting months or even years to claim asylum. As a long-term volunteer I am able to train new volunteers, ensure we are providing aid where it is needed most and prioritise donations for those most in need.
Ifyou would prefer to donate directly to the charity, rather than for my accommodation, please do so at www.helprefugees.org.uk/how-to-help