Children in the Calais refugee camp…
This morning I woke up and read this account from a fellow volunteer in the Calais Jungle:
“We had a heartbreaking situation last night when prior to leaving the camp we found an 11 year old boy hiding in our sprinter van.
His hands were in the prayer position, tears quietly running down his cheeks, he had nothing with him, just the clothes he was wearing, and he was begging and pleading with us to take him to London.
We hugged and cried with this boy and heard his story; his parents had died in Afghanistan, he had an older brother in London, he tries on the trains each night and showed us his scars from where he gets hurt doing this.
I asked for his brother’s details so I could get in touch from England and see if there is anything I can do for him, and he pulled out a tiny folded piece of paper almost in tatters but still legible, which was tucked inside his sock for safe keeping.
Can you imagine how it broke our hearts to send him back to his cold, wet, hungry and miserable existence? All we could do was fill his pockets with sweets and biscuits and kiss away his tears. He is just one year older than our Ned.
I told Ned this morning what happened, I asked him could he imagine having to jump on to train tracks each night after walking 3 hours from a muddy camp in the dark, crossing several razor wire fences? Could he imagine wanting to try and hide in the back of a strangers van to get to a country he’d never been to before, all alone?
He couldn’t imagine of course…
That little boy is not unique, he is one of millions.
What if he was yours?”
What would you tell your little boy to do in this situation?
I’m pretty sure this is the same 11-year-old from Afghanistan I have met a few times in the camp myself.
The same little boy who led thousands in our peaceful solidarity march, chanting ‘No jungle, no jungle. Freedom, freedom!’
Brave and kind, we’ve had many a conversation, and last time I saw him he had just been given a chocolate bar by a volunteer. A bounty actually. he opened it up and insisted I take half. I refused, amazed that this little boy wanted to share his chocolate with me, when does that ever happen!? But he insisted!
People with so little are the best at sharing.
And maybe it’s not the same 11 year old child from Afghanistan, alone in the jungle, no parents, no family. Maybe there is more that one.
That’s the worst part.
There are so many kids, on their own, not knowing what to do, where to go, stuck in the nightmare.
Account by the wonderful Shelley Braddock-Overbury. Keep up the amazing work.