The Worldwide Tribe team first went to Calais in early August 2015, and the experience was humbling. One thing that was immediately clear was that there was not enough, or really any, support. Apart from a couple of volunteers from French organisations, the people in Calais were literally completely alone.
Initially, we started to address issues of aid, like the need for food and clothing and were quickly overwhelmed. As more organisations started to form a presence in Calais to cater for those basic needs, we were able to expand our own work.
We have installed numerous WiFi access points throughout the Jungle, enabling the people in the camp to access the internet and the communication and information that comes with it. This is a model that we have been able to develop and replicate in Lesvos, and plan to roll out elsewhere in the future.
We are also so proud to have worked with the amazing team at Arcadia to build a custom fire-truck for the Jungle. Kept on-site in a container, the 4×4 vehicle is stored full of water and ready to tackle the difficult terrain for an immediate response, minimising the effects of fire and undoubtedly saving lives.
Over many visits to the camp we have been sure to do what what we can to bring joy and happiness to the people we meet, from distributing handmade scarves, to playing impromptu gigs, to screening our film The Lotus Flower. It is amazing to see the morale and the beauty of community when we share these experiences.
As well as this, we have been consistently able to channel volunteers and aid donations to the organisations working in Calais, utilising our resources to continue to support the Jungle and its residents.