During my trip in the north of France I’ve heard about “L’Auberge des migrants”, a NGO helping refugees in Calais. Most of refugees in the north of France fled from war regions (Iraq, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Eritrea, Oromia, Darfur and Palestine). They live in the “Jungle of Calais” where they find accommodation in wood cabins.
A friend of mine, who comes from Calais, told me about it. So, I spontaneously decided to pass by “the port to the UK” , to visit her and to find further information about the organisation.
Yesterday, my friend and I volunteered in their new warehouse where they received tons of donations from everywhere. When we arrived in the morning, an English girl instructed new volunteers. Besides French people, there also were a lot of English, Irish and helpers from different other countries.
Our main task was to separate the donations and to make them easier to distribute. For example, we separated all sort of sanitary products and put them into big boxes. Other people made these different items up into rationed hygiene kits for men and women. On the other side of the warehouse, volunteers sorted mountains of clothes after type, sex, size and put them in to labelled boxes. Not all donations were useful as items had expired (medicaments, baby food etc.) or just crap (for example sun cream or nipple cream).
Another group of volunteers was cooking lunch for the refugees and the helpers. And so on and so on, as there was plenty of work to do. It was fascinating to see how organized the work was, even though this new warehouse has only existed for 4 months!
What impressed me the most were the volunteers: Wonderful people with big hearts! All kinds of people from different nationalities were peacefully working together, like pensioners, job seekers, families, holidaymakers, students, travellers, etc. While working, we felt a good atmosphere because everyone was very friendly, helpful and motivated to support the organisation. We met people staying in their camper vans just next to the warehouse for a couple of weeks or even months.
Are you interested in social work and you have a little bit of time? L’Auberge des migrants and other association around the region like Utopia 56 (Grand-Synthe) are always thankful to welcome new motivated volunteers! They provide also accommodation for helpers. For more information please contact them directly: