Coventry University staff reach out to refugees in Calais

Coventry University staff reach out to refugees in Calais
University news

Thursday 15 September 2016

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Caring employees at Coventry University have reached out to thousands of people in need after delivering clothing and food to the Calais refugee camp.

Amanda Eccles and Enrika Kareivaite joined volunteers from action group, Stand Up To Racism Coventry who visited the French camp where around 9,000 people are waiting in hope of being granted refuge in the UK.

To support the humanitarian aid charity, Care4Calais the team took food, clothing and £6,000 in donations during a visit on September 10. Over a weekend the group also helped make up food parcels and taught English to refugees across the camp.

The group is now making an appeal for donations before a return trip in October when they hope to take warm clothes and food to help keep thousands of men, women and children alive through the winter. 

Amanda Eccles, campaign and marketing officer at Coventry University said: 

“It was a very humbling trip. We heard a lot of stories of people who have been through so much and they now face this endless wait. They have nothing yet were inviting us into their tents for tea and to share meals with them.

“These are not bad people, they are simply desperate and desperation makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do. We believe they just need help, and if we all did something small to help somebody else, think of the difference we could make.”

 Enrika Kareivaite, business analytics assistant at the university's Lanchester Library, said:

“What is shocking is the number of unaccompanied children who are just stuck. They want to come to the UK because they believe it is the safest place, but for now they are in awful conditions with very little food or help and we want to do what we can.”

Andy Petit, Stand Up To Racism Coventry group leader, said: 

“There are more than 9,000 people in the camp, the biggest numbers seen so far and the help they are getting is very limited. Everything out there is a voluntary effort.

 “For many, they can’t go forward and they can’t go back so they are just waiting but people face a daily struggle for food, or gas to cook with. We want to do what we can, especially as winter gets closer and temperatures drop.”