Each year we volunteer with our students in Calais where many migrants are living in poor circumstances. We work with different grassroot organisations. Any support is welcome and a relief for the volunteers that are long-term based in Calais! It is also a great opportunity for students to understand the complexity of migration in Europe better. Our students generally consider this an important experience and actually enjoy the hands-on activities they contribute to. The vibe among the volunteers is amazing.
We are aware that many universities and student groups would be interested to do the same. It is fairly easy to organize the trip. I hope this email concept helps others to volunteer as well. You only need to make your own Google document for your group to communicate with the organizations. If you have any questions do not hesitate to reach out!
Thank you for showing your interest to volunteer in the migrant situation in Calais!
Situation in Calais
Only 3.5 hours from the Dutch border, migrants live outside in inhumane circumstances. They are hunted by the police and sleep outside in windy and wet conditions. Before there was a big makeshift camp in Calais, also called the “Jungle”. However, the French government frequently evicts makeshift camps without providing adequate alternative solutions. Therefore there is a constant need for support. Different grassroot organizations are active in Calais to support the stranded migrants. Tents, sleeping bags and warm clothing is distributed and each day warm meals are provided and basic toiletries. The migrants are a mix of war refugees, climate refugees and other migrants. They desperately want to cross the canal in the back of a truck and reach the UK.
We have selected two rather large grassroot organizations that welcome larger groups. It would be ideal to divide the group over these two organizations so that it is easier for the organizations to handle. In both organizations you have the opportunity to interact with the migrants during distributions. More information about these organizations is provided at the end of this email and in the attachment. Note that volunteering is not without obligation. If you subscribe they count on you.
Care 4 Calais: They sort and distribute donated goods and food from a warehouse in Calais. Different services are provided to the refugees.
Refugee Community Kitchen: They prepare 2500 meals per day and distribute them amongst the migrants. There is a great vibe in the kitchen with nice music. In their warehouse they also chop up wood in the woodyard to provide approximately 10kg packages of woods every day. They collaborate with a big warehouse called Collectiveaid from where goods are distributed.
There are some standard details that both organisations need from you. Please register your details in "this Google Sheet".
ID: upload a copy of your passport or ID in "this folder".
Transport: It is about 3.5 hours driving from Eindhoven. It is best to share rides. If you have a care please write down how many spots you have available.
Accommodation: There is a large youth hostel that offers reduced prices for volunteers (19,00 euro per night). We can make that reservation for you if you leave your details. There are also many Airbnbs in the area that are even cheaper if you share it with a group. On your way back you might want to stop over in Brugge or Gent of a night out in one of these lively student cities.
The university is ensured for incidents abroad during internships or study trips. You can subscribe "here" for the insurance.
Donations are always welcome. Both organizations have lists available of the most urgent needs. Goods can be donated at our "university deposit".