Refugees in Calais & Dunkerque
"To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity." Nelson Mandela
BARAC UK is a national campaign against racism, injustice, austerity and cuts. We don't believe that migrants and refugees fleeing persecution, war, poverty and climate change should be scapegoated. We believe that their human rights matter and that everybody is entitled to safety and security.
Since Summer 2015 we have been taking food, essential items and other aid to refugees in Calais and more recently Dunkerque, who are stuck in limbo in a shanty town in inhumane conditions.
We take aid & solidarity every 4 to 6 weeks. We have been supported / joined by Global Justice Now, Nation of Islam, Black Fathers Support Group, Public & Commercial Services Union, ASLEF the Union, CWU, GMB & the TUC Black Workers Conference.
We are raising funds for basic and traditional & cultural food supplies, toiletries including African hair and skin products, Halal products and items to help cope with the weather depending on the season, for example in the winter months, thermal underwear, hats, scarves, gloves, coats a d all year round warm blankets , emergency blankets, hot water bottles, sleeping bags, plus camping equipment.
Recently adverse weather, regular fires and Government destruction due to ok imposed exclusion zones have destroyed personal items and shelters so we will also respond to any urgent need for particular items with the funds we raise.
A video in the link below documents our first fact -finding / solidarity visit to Calais together with a written report and photos: http://www.blackactivistsrisingagainstcuts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/solidarity-visit-to-calais-by-black.html
Our thanks to documentary film maker Ray Rakaba for producing both films.
We are grateful to all who have donated in the past and ask that you please share this page, donate and fundraise if you are able to.
In addition to donating money, if you are able to provide any of the items needed, food, water, tea, coffee, juice, traditional foods, basic foods,tents, sleeping bags, blankets, camping and building equipment, art supplies for the art school, books for the library, sturdy boots and shoes to cope with the weather, warm, water proof jackets and coats and other items mentioned above, we have a drop off point at the PCS Union HQ at Clapham Junction, London, please contact us for further details.
We thank you for your support. Freedom should not be a privilege for the rich but a human right for all of us. Until we all have freedom, none of us are truly free as we are bound by the restrictions imposed on us as human beings.
A belated happy new year to you and thanks for all your support in 2017 and before.
We are returning to France this month to take solidarity, essential supplies and food.
When we visited at the end of 2017 it was bitterly cold, people raised with us concerns about police brutality, lack of shelter and insufficient food.
As you will know one of the organisations we work with in France is the Refugee Community Kitchen, bringing them food supplies. They do brilliant work in supplying two hot meals per day to people but ongoing support is needed to provide adequate meals for people, it is especially important for people to get hot meals during the colder weather and because people are living and sleeping outside in the open air without shelter.
We would be grateful if you were to share this message with your networks and any donations you can give are gratefully received. With £1 we can purchase thermal gloves or a warm scarf or hat. The supply we took last time were well received and much needed.
Other ways you can support us this month or through the year are for your organisation to sponsor our transport and travel to go to France or you can drop off supplies for us to take at our base at PCS union HQ in Clapham Junction, London. Things that are needed are hats, scarves, gloves, small to medium mens warm clothing, catering size supplies of food (check with us first as we usually have a list of what's needed most urgently), sleeping bags and foil blankets, mobile phones and sim cards, wind up torches, size 7 and 8 sturdy walking shoes, coats and toiletries including black hair products and skin care.
Thanks for your support and solidarity.
National Chair, BARAC UK
Last weekend in Calais it was bitterly cold and we worry about how people will survive the Winter living outside without shelter. We spoke to and recorded (just feet and hands so as not to identify them) a group of young men from Afghanistan in this video talking about their experiences of police brutality and restriction on their movements, injuries they have sustained running repeatedly from police, having just enough basic food to survive which is soup & rice every day, that they are sleeping outside with no shelter as police steal their blankets when they get some. This gives a sense of what refugees in France are experiencing right now.
At the warehouse volunteers said that funding is drying up for food supplies, tents & sleeping bags if given out are slashed & taken by the police, after a big fundraising drive supplies of new boots & trainers were distributed to people on the day we were there, their feet are injured & damaged from wearing inappropriate footwear, not having access to the correct size, being on rough terrain and being on foot all the time. We took aid to the warehouse and Refugee Community Kitchen then went to two distribution points and distributed food, toiletries, blankets, coats, warm clothes, rucksacks, snacks, books, hats, gloves & scarves. Nobody had gloves we met & those we took were snapped up quickly. Thanks to your donations we were able to take a large supply. Thanks to all of you who have donated money & items for this distribution or helped in some other way.
Zita Holbourne; National Chair BARAC UK
Just a reminder that we are going to Calais tomorrow to take aid - warm clothes, toiletries, food, blankets etc. We will be shopping this evening. This will be our last 6 weekly distribution for 2017. Hundreds of people, majority young people & children are living outside with no shelter as any blankets etc are confiscated by police. So if you would like to donate today before we shop we can maximise the amount we take. If not please share.
Many thanks for your ongoing support and solidarity.
We go approximately 6 weekly but this will be our final time for this year so any help you can give will be appreciated as it is far harder during the winter months and police take blankets & sleeping bags if they find anybody with them.
We also supply the refugee community kitchen with food and cooking ingredients, as there is no infrastructure or camps people can't cook for themselves & are dependent on the hot meals supplied by the kitchen.
There are far more men than women so mainly mens clothes sized small & medium are needed if you don't have spare items you can donate.
We are grateful to the PCS Union for supporting us with transport on our last visit and their ongoing support, to Lush Charity Pot for their recent financial donation and donation of a large supply of toiletries and of course to all of you.
National Chair, BARAC UK
This is what we must do to make real inroads to the World's racist, immigration and refugee problems; dissolve all borders, follow the world famous song that inspires all people to day and continuously. Believe that it is true. Gradually dismantle all the world's geographical and ethnic "specialisms". Stop judgements between so-called religious entities. Whom does this really benefit? Global suffrage to 12 y.o to allow the young to discover their true voice, repressed by adults. The youth perspective is essential to work out the plan. Look at the world every day and decide you will love it to death. Make love not war.