I’m lucky. Very lucky. I have roof above my head, running water and food. Internet access to write this. Literacy, because I was able to go to school. I have my beautiful family. I’m grateful for all this and I feel I ought to pay forward.
CalAid is my chosen charity for this Christmas.
CalAid was set up in 2015. It’s a grassroots movement open to all, meeting the needs of refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people. It’s a movement for ordinary people who act on the belief that all human life is precious and all people should be allowed to live with dignity and be given the opportunity to contribute something positive.
Since August 2015 CalAid has shipped over £7.5 million worth of aid through the generosity of the public, volunteers and crowdfunding. That’s 300 tonnes of warm clothing, waterproof shoes, shelter equipment, sleeping bags, blankets, toiletries, medicine, cooking equipment and food benefitting over 75,000 refugees and displaced people across Europe and the Middle East.
How can you help this Christmas?
CalAid has set up an Amazon Wishlist with basic and very much needed items like sleeping bag, warm jumper, first aid kit etc. (soon to be added onto the list, educational tools and books for children). This is a way to directly help refugees in camps.
CalAid’s work has impacted refugees in Athens, Lesvos, Chios, Idomeni, Epirus, villages in western Syria, Calais and Dunkirk. They have also funded schooling, safe solar lighting and kitchens feeding thousands.
In Greece they are working with grassroots groups setting up and running aid distribution centres. They are also helping to fund youth and community projects specifically focusing on unaccompanied refugee children. Last month they sent over 17 specially selected and trained teachers and youth workers.
In Turkey they are assisting local teams in Izmir and the surrounding region to explore methods of enabling refugees in the region get what they need to survive, are treated fairly and given every opportunity to thrive.
In France they are supporting their partners in delivering much-needed aid and they are championing refugees and displaced people to ensure they are treated with dignity, compassion and respect.
They are also dedicated securing the safety of unaccompanied minors in Europe and to create opportunities for their future.
CalAid has been working to provide refugees with mobile phones, so, for example, mothers can speak to their children who are left with relatives in other countries. The BT donation group has helped over 4,000 displaced adults and children make contact with loved ones, stay up to date with news from home and even summon emergency life saving assistance.
If you’re interested reading about other inspirational charities I wrote about, why not have a read: Good Cause Of The Month: The Secret Pillow Project