Though it is easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of such a large issue, it is small actions that collectively make a difference.
We were very lucky to have the time and means to volunteer full-time and if this is an option for you there are multiple organisations you can contact, some of which are listed below. In addition to people these groups always need donations, a core list of which can be found on the Help Refugees website. Keep an eye out for local donation collections, people driving over to volunteer often appeal for supplies in the days before leaving.
Closer to home, many cities have local support groups for migrants offering activities such as English lessons and computer literacy in addition to putting people in touch within a community. These are especially essential with the increasingly hostile political environment and often receive no government funding, relying solely on public generosity.
Keeping pressure on the government is another essential activity. Write to your MP and stay up to date with planned protests. Displays of solidarity are key to fighting hate culture and demonstrating collective support shows the government we will not let people be forgotten or exploited.
Translators and those familiar with migration law are always in demand to help demystify asylum applications and offer people a proper grasp of their options. If you can offer such skills, Translators or Lawyers Without Borders are good places to start.
- Help Refugees have warehouses in Northern France and Greece which are always looking for extra hands.
- Utopia 56 (http://www.utopia56.com/en) also work in Northern France and are a key contact for volunteering in Paris
- Volunteering in Greece NGO database – http://www.greecevol.info/
- Volunteering in the UK http://www.refugee-action.org.uk/
- Liftshare – Calais and Dunkirk Refugee camps
- Calais – People to People Solidarity – Action from UK
This is by no means exhaustive advice, simply the organisations we have come into contact with and have found helpful – if you would like to add your group to the list just send us an email and we’ll be happy to help!