We want to tell you guys about Liz Clegg…
Liz is pretty infamous in the camp. Heading up the ‘unofficial’ women’s and children’s centre, she has taken it upon herself to act as the mum to hundreds of kids in the Jungle.
She and her team have created an environment where women and children can feel safe. While we were there last week, we saw a group of kids happily trotting off to the playground in the afternoon sun and it was clear that having this community space is really, really important.
Not only does Liz provide a safe haven within the Jungle, you guys may have heard the story of how she saved the life of a child before he suffocated in the back of a refrigerated lorry. This 7 year old boy was able to text Liz with the phone and sim card she had provided him with, telling her he was running out of oxygen and that he needed help, during an attempt to reach the UK. Liz called the police and they tracked his phone, managing to save him just in time.
Liz spent a little time last week talking with us about her centre and their work, and it was actually kind of overwhelming. They’ve got A LOT going on!
As well as running the centre in Calais, they’re actually planning to set up premises in Birmingham. Quite a number of refugees have arrived there from the Jungle, and they’re still in need of support. There’s a level of trust that they have built with people in the Jungle, and to be able to carry this relationship forward into the UK, helping people to settle into their new life, is so, so valuable.
Some of their work in the UK includes supplying bus passes which gives much-needed freedom (a bus ticket to the city centre could cost a whole day’s allowance!), supporting with information and education, supporting with local advocacy and providing emergency accommodation. And they’ve got even more plans for the future!
They’re a small team but they’ve got big ideas and have a big impact, and that is so amazing!
We’d really like to support the ‘unofficial’ women’s and children’s centre, and all of the people that they help. We want to raise £2000 to help them continue and expand their wonderful work.
If you’d like to make a donation, or set up a fundraiser, we would be so grateful. You can do so here:https://mydonate.bt.com/events/calaiswomenchildren
We also discussed the idea of a gazebo in the Jungle, to provide a sheltered space where people can meet, enjoy workshops and build relationships. If you happen to have a complete gazebo you’d like to donate, please drop an email to email@example.com and we’ll try and work it out!
Thank you so much, you wonderful people!
Photo by Finlay O’Hara