Along with so many of us, I’ve been extremely heartbroken by the migrant and refugee crisis here in Europe over the last 18 months. Whilst I haven’t been able to volunteer my time in a hands-on way like my little sister has, I’ve been trying to do my bit in other ways. Every time Caz comes back from Calais (where she sorts out donations and makes food on the weekend), she has more stories that give me goosebumps.
Most of the refugees she meets there are educated, middle-class and intelligent, and she has interesting conversation and jokey interactions with them – amazing when you consider all they have been through. Most have lost friends and family, their homes, their jobs and are now sleeping rough in freezing cold Europe whilst trying to keep the faith that their future involves a life that can be rebuilt. They still give each other weekly haircuts at the refugee camp and shave their facial hair daily in order to maintain a sense of dignity.
If you have the time and inclination, here are three easy ways you can do your bit to support these vulnerable and displaced men and women and give them just a little bit of hope that the future could be a bright one.
- Buy one of these ace jumpers or t-shirts for you or a loved one:
All proceeds go to the charity Help Refugees.
2. Go to your local charity shop and collect mens’ trainers (Size 42 / UK Size 8 if possible). This is what is asked for by the refugees over and over again – lace up trainers that they can run in – and if they’re waterproof, that’s a bonus. They can then be donated to your nearest refugee charity to take to Europe – find yours here.
3. Donate £7.90 to buy a Uniqlo HeatTech t-shirt.
I started a JustGiving fundraiser a couple of weeks’ ago; we’re already fully funded but the more money the merrier! Each t-shirt is hand delivered to a vulnerable man (and they are usually men) who is sleeping rough in Calais or Paris. Rumours are that the French police are confiscating tents and sleeping bags, but these t-shirts which keep the body super warm can’t be taken away. Buy your t-shirt (by the end of February) here.
And that’s it – 3 super easy ways to do your bit today. Because…