We are a charity started up by a couple of determined people, who witnessed inhumane living conditions for refugees and displaced people at the French/British border, in northern France. And we decided to do something about it. Join us!
In June 2017, the charity was created following the destruction of the Calais Jungle and La Linière camp in Grande-Synthe (Northern France).
Since then we have offered mobile aid and support to displaced people by:
- giving access to essential material needs such as tents, clothes, hygiene kits, in a targeted way. This means we don't do large unified distributions but prepare individual orders, in order to provide support in a personalised and efficient manner and to enable more bearable living conditions.
- providing communication support, which is vital for displaced people. This includes daily services of access to electricity and WiFi for up to 500 people at a time. We also repair phones, give out sim cards and charge power banks overnight for people.
- offering some specialist services such as personalised food packs and the provision of relevant up-to-date information for those stranded without homes or safety in foreign countries.
Over the years we have developed and finely tuned many of our procedures and services to fit the needs of the individuals we support. Our core team currently consists of several experienced aid workers alongside a rotation of shorter-term volunteers. It is a diverse and dynamic team. We are currently looking for highly motivated people to join the team!
The learning curve is pretty exhilarating here!
The multicultural environment is very rich. Within the team, volunteers usually come from all over Europe. We work with displaced people who come from all over the world - mostly Kurdistan, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. We also work with charities from France, England, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. So you will be hearing some Kurdish, Arabic, Flemish, English, Farsi, German, Pashto, Dutch, Vietnamese, Dari and French all in the same afternoon! It is a fantastic environment to learn or practice any of these languages and to be immersed in a multicultural environment in which we promote sharing and learning.
In addition to that, there is a vast array of things you could learn, which you can choose from based on the areas of volunteering you are interested in. These include: learning about grassroots charity work, distributing aid, mutual support, putting up tents, thinking fast and sometimes finding makeshift solutions on the spot, repairing electronics, keeping stock and calling for donations, keeping social media pages, and making Kurdish tea.
The help required is quite diverse, and the longer you stay, the more responsibilities you can have.
At the start, you can help us with:
- going on the ground with the team and helping with the setup of the power and wifi area
- providing material support for displaced people, for instance by taking orders and giving pre-packed orders on the following day
- supporting with the reception of donations and keeping the warehouse organised
- driving vehicles to get in between locations
Staying on in the team will enable you to choose areas in which you prefer to work, for it to become your task. There is leeway for everyone to have a contribution that matches their interests and skills! This usually happens after the first month, when you start having a good feel for the way things work.
Also, if you stay in the team for several months, you could help us with:
- partaking in the team coordination and in the logistical planning
- replacing members of the core team, when they are on a break
- welcoming new volunteers
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
We have a volunteer flat, which can be made available when you join the team! Depending on team size, it might already be taken. If that is the case, we will support you in renting out a flat or living space in Calais, close to where the rest of the team is living. Some of these options are house shares with volunteers from other teams. This is ideal because it means you can choose the layout and the type of place you would like to stay in! Finding a place is of course something we can help with, and we will make sure that you are supported throughout the preparation of your trip.
Northern France is a beautiful area!
By foot or by bus, you can stroll around Calais, which has a lovely harbour and a large sand beach. The city centre is quite small but has some nice cafes, bars, shops and restaurants.
By car (your own or rideshare) or by train, you can get to the nearby cities: Dunkirk, Arras, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Lille... These have a lot to offer and are beautiful places to visit!
You will also be very close to the Belgian border, in which many breweries can be visited, and where you can enjoy local cheese and beers.
The countryside is famously beautiful here, with large fields that have cycling paths pretty much everywhere. You can stay along the beach to see the coast and the English cliffs on the other side or go inland to enjoy the flat bike rides amongst the parks and fields.
We must warn you of two things: the first is that the week tends to be draining, so it is likely that on your time off you might just want to chill, which is completely fine too! The second is that weather and public transportation aren't the highlights of Northern France, so we would recommend coming with your own vehicle. But it is not mandatory - many have well managed without! And surrounding areas are very accessible by bike, as it is very flat.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
This host can provide space for campervans.
This host has said they are willing to accept those travelling with a pet.
More than two
Maximum 5 hours a day, 5 days a week