In late July 2015, I became aware of two "organisations" on Facebook for people wanting to help the refugees in Calais. As I followed the posts, deliberating on how I could help, the former Teacher Librarian/English Teacher in me surfaced and I found myself wanting to categorise and organise the plethora of information being provided across the various forums/sites.
So, this website "Calaid-ipedia" was born.
Christine Cox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources of Information
- I regularly read various Facebook Groups and Pages dedicated to the efforts to support refugees in Calais.
- I weighed up the information being shared, identified if the information was from someone who had volunteered in Calais, was someone who had taken responsibility for a specific project in the camp, or was a representative/ admin of Help Refugees; Calais People To People Solidarity; Calais Action or Calaid.
- I was in contact with people who were in contact with L'Auberge Des Migrants and Salam - two of the longer standing charities on the ground in Calais so could verify the accuracy of information, and the wisdom of advice if in doubt.
I was conscious that no one was in overall charge of the decision making about volunteers, donations and distribution, and so advice being circulated was subjective and contradictory. I was also aware that the main charities over there had many years of experience working in the camps and that they had been unintentionally overwhelmed and, at times, hindered in their work - by the sheer numbers of people contacting them and wanting to distribute aid to the refugees personally. I had become increasingly aware that some decision makers get caught up in the cult of personality, and that for them promoting and building a brand can undermine their original aims.
I thus endeavoured to reflect the consensus of opinion at any given time but take particular note of any messages that came from the French NGOs and their "partners".
The popular press in the UK - notorious for sensationalising the news - was severely criticised in various quarters for promoting xenophobia and racism following the UK referendum decision to leave the EU.
So, finding thoughtful, balanced, or compassionate reports on the refugee crisis in Calais was not always easy and it was for that reason that I created a list here on Calaidipedia of those that I came across.