Lorna Miri reports on the UCL donation drive helping refugees in Calais
There are approximately 4000 stranded refugees in Calais. many of whom are in desperate need of food, warmth and shelter. In order to help tackle the situation, some UCL students established a non-profit donation drive.
They decided it was more logical to ask for items that anybody could contribute, rather than demanding large donations or specific objects. Elisha Al-Ahwal, a second year anthropologist, said: “Everyone has spare things lying about these days”, and the organisers are stressing that everyone has the ability to help. As such, the group began requesting non-perishable food items, blankets and clothing.
Despite their straightforward agenda, they faced some organisational problems. Booking an accessible collection point proved to be one such issue. Nevertheless, UCL students reacted encouragingly and donated bags of items, including sleeping bags, shoes and money.
The team’s inspiration came from an unlikely source. Whilst attending a spoken word evening, Tongue Fu, they were made aware of the grave situation in Calais. Elisha said they realised refugees still need a lot of help. With the Calais donations ending today, the students hope to set up additional initiatives. For example, asking supermarket customers to buy two items from their shopping list for the Calais refugees.
The huge response is even more impressive given the only publicity was inter-UCL connections, online media and posters. Motivated by this success, it seems that the UCL Union will launch a similar scheme.
Featured image credit: Lorna Miri