Last week we started fundraising for our fourth trip to Calais. In a little over a week, we’ve raised over £4.5k, at the time of writing this the total sits at £4535.
With that money and with the help of a friend, we’ve already bought a van for our friends Hafsa and Zineb, two local women from Dunkirk who visit the camps everyday to provide aid to the residents. The level of practical solidarity Hafsa and Zineb show to the residents has totally blown me away. They take them into their own home for a shower, pay out of their own pockets for those who particularly vulnerable to spend a night in hotel when they are in need of respite from the grinding deprivation of the camp, they seem to live their lives in service of those who have lost everything and are stuck living rough in a field in France.
We’ll be delivering the van along with supplies such as food, sleeping bags, blankets and tents to Dunkirk this weekend. The van will make such a difference to the way that the girls do their work on camp each day. Currently the are using a really small car to transport donations back and forth across Dunkirk and into the camp. This van will save them so much time and fuel money and allow them to be a lot more efficient in their operations.
The money that we have raised will also be spent on a respite caravan which will be run by Sofinee Harun. The idea is that the caravan will provide an environment where younger residents of the camp who are unwell can come and rest in a warmer, dry environment. Sofinee and her team of volunteers will be on hand to provide basic care and comfort while the young people recover.
With the money that’s left over we plan to buy food for Sofinee’s kitchen and for the One Spirit Ashram Kitchen. We will also buy a large quantity of gas and food for the Dunkirk camp to be distribute by Hafsa and we’ll buy some fruit and snacks to share around the camp.
We’ll take guidance from Hafsa and Zineb about what is most needed in the camp tomorrow (5 December) and we’ll go and get it for them.
We’ve also been collecting physical donations. The very kind folks at Calais Action let us come along and help ourselves to blankets, tents, tarp and pots and pans which will all be put to immediate use in both Dunkirk and Calais. An incredibly generous friend bought 50 blankets to be given out in Dunkirk along with 50 hot water bottles that we bought with donations.
You may have heard about the two-month-old baby who developed hypothermia last week and had to be rushed to hospital. We want to make sure this never happens again but winter is only just beginning and we have a long way to go.
Thank you to everyone that has helped us with donations, both financial and practical, by sharing our fundraising page, for lifts, for tea, hugs and for space to process and talk about the things we see when we go to camp. Thank you from all of at Dulwich2Dunkirk
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