All refugees in the Calais camp are vulnerable but the women and children more so.
There are unaccompanied children as young as eleven and many of these children find their way to the Women & Children’s Centre where they can be given clothing and food. A watchful eye can be kept over them by the full-time volunteers who run the centre and know the camp very well. Women are offered a variety of services including English lessons and a number of referral services can be accessed via the centre.
For many of the women it is unsafe and sometimes intimidating to move about the camp travelling to medical centres etc. Our second trip allowed us to create a medical and therapeutic space within camp’s Women’s & Children’s Centre. We were able to purchase, convert and deliver a ‘Caravan of Calm’ that was then towed into the camp and set-up within the Women’s Centre compound. The caravan will be used by ArtRefuge (therapeutic trauma support) as well as all-women medical and gynaecological support, thereby acting as a safe-refuge that can offer invaluable outreach support by essential services.
There is also a daily schedule of activities for both women & children that’s been devised after consultation with them.
The women & children’s area is run by an English women Liz and her daughter who live and work amongst the camps women and children 24hrs a day. Supported by other volunteers, the work they are doing is amazing. But they are not supported by any major charity. Their budgets are tiny relying on good will and grass roots donation.
Justine is now coordinating the Women’s centre volunteer effort from the UK. Please look at our facebook page for up to date information and the sign-up button for volunteering, or donate to support this work.