We’re not experts on British immigration, not by any means; but we are most certainly human beings.
Watching the recent plight of the men, women, children and the families stranded at the refugee camps in northern France as their situation unfolded has been harrowing and disturbing.
Of course, we’d like to wholeheartedly encourage everyone to give what they can in terms of charitable donations but we also wanted to find other ways that we could help. Starting today there’ll be an optional £1 donation on every advance ticket purchased for our club nights. The entirety of that one pound donation will then be donated to the organisations we’ve listed below.
We’re currently working on further ways that we, as a business, can continue to raise further funds and awareness.
We appreciate that the wider refugee situation and the onslaught of media coverage it’s received has proven to be quite a confusing tapestry. We promised ourselves that if we could figure out exactly how we could directly help some of the people affected we’d help spread the word. So in our attempt to learn more, we teamed up with the Cambridge Calais Refugee Action group to try and outline the ways that we can directly help the people enduring these shocking conditions.
More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in five years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than 11 million other people have been forced from their homes . According to the UNHCR there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide at the end of 2014, but, by now, that number is a lot greater. Last year, 51% of those refugees were reported to be under 18 years old. This is the highest figure for child refugees in more than a decade .
On average, almost one out of every four refugees is Syrian. To date, 4.7 million refugees have been displaced from Syria and there are another 6.5 million people who are internally displaced with no fixed abode or home. Since the war started 320,000 people have been killed, including nearly 12,000 children . Syrian children have lost loved ones, suffered injuries, missed years of schooling and witnessed abhorrent violence and brutality. Within Europe, 10,000 refugee children are missing and an estimated 26,000 unaccompanied children entered Europe last year .
The truth is, Britain offers no asylum visa.
There are very few, legal ways for refugees to safely escape their country and claim asylum in another. In fact, before the Syrian conflict broke out, under 30% of applications for travel visas from Syrians were refused. In 2015, this rocketed to nearly 50% .
This lack of safe and legal routes for refugees to reach safety and claim asylum has had deadly results. In 2015, 3,771 men, women and children lost their lives during their desperate attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Every death was a tragedy. So far this year, hundreds more people have died. Refugees don’t place their lives in smugglers’ hands because they want to. They do it because they often have no other choice.
Shamefully, over a third of all asylum seekers find themselves detained during the asylum process. Despite the Government’s 2010 pledge to end child detention for immigration purposes, 128 children were imprisoned during this time and two thirds of the children who entered detention were released, rendering their detention not only harmful but futile. Furthermore the UK especially has been slow in fulfilling its pledges to help, compared to other countries. As of February of this year only 1,337 Syrians had arrived and been settled in the UK.
Whilst this situation is very much an international issue, the people closest to us who are directly affected by this situation are just over the channel in Northern France, currently held up in temporary camps in Calais and Dunkirk.
This is happening right now.
From personal experience we’ve found it a little confusing to know exactly how we can help the refugee situation, in real and present terms so we’ve collated a few organisations, appeals and volunteer groups that we’d like to draw your attention to below:
Help Refugees is a UK based charity that helps the most vulnerable people currently reaching Europe's shore by supporting local groups, charities and volunteers who are at the front lines, carrying out life changing work in difficult circumstances. Help Refugees works everywhere where governments and NGOs cannot be. Unconstrained by red tape, politics and bureaucracy, Help Refugees acts fast to change lives. Donations go directly to the people who need it most. Help Refugees have to date:
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is the key international authoritative source of information, aid and fundraising. Their Syria Emergency Appeal provides basic and necessary humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees and helps the most vulnerable refugees with urgently needed relief - cash for medicine and food, stoves and fuel for heating, insulation for tents, and thermal blankets for warmth.
Save The Children’s Child Refugee Crisis Appeal funds work and centres along the whole route that refugees take into Europe, as well as in the countries they are fleeing. At STC centres children can access medical help, washing facilities and make contact with friends and family.
Please note: the above is intended to summarise the situation and act as a bibliography for further information. It was never intended to be a definitive guide.