I’ve known about Syria and refugees and other world issues for… well as long as I can remember. Sometimes, when a particular crisis hits, I will give money. Or when Children in Need is on. Or when I watch an advert from charities like Save the Children or Water Aid that make me cry and then set up a direct debit to give a couple quid a month. That’s the extent of my charitableness.
Sometimes I break a wishbone or blow a candle out and wish that my family stay safe and happy and then feel a pang of guilt thinking I wasted my wish selfishly and should have wished for world peace. That happens. I don’t do anything about it.
I often think I’d like to do something but I don’t know enough about what is going on or enough about politics or it’s someone else’s job or I reconcile my inaction with comments such as “If I didn’t have kids…” or “If I wasn’t working on my dissertation…” There’s always an “if only…” I’m sure other people can relate.
Then THAT picture cropped up. The photo of beautiful little Aylan Kurdi face down in the water, washed up on the beach in Bodrum. Not just a number in the newspaper or a statistic announced on the radio, he was somebody’s baby. Every time I saw the photo I wanted desperately to be able to hold him and cradle him and breathe life into him. If that’s how I felt, what about his father?! I can’t really imagine. I thought about if he was my baby and my heart started breaking. I kissed my baby and felt so thankful that my children were safe. Everything about that photo made me hurt. A beautiful little boy. It should never have happened.
I wished for a while that I had not seen the photo because I couldn’t erase it from my mind. I felt sick and I couldn’t sleep. I don’t know what it was about that photo in particular but I found it immensely distressing and heartbreaking. I knew at that point I wanted to do something. I gave money to Save the Children’s #SaveSyriasChildren campaign but this wasn’t enough. I wanted to do more.
As much as I wanted to travel to Syria and bring home as many children as I could, I knew this wasn’t feasible. Then I thought of all the refugees at Calais – Calais!!! No more than a couple hours away! All those thousands of people who have travelled so far, experienced such horrors and are now cold and starving. I thought of the van we had recently bought – Cosmo – and I thought you know what? I have an opportunity to do something here.
I did some research and found a list of items that are desperately needed – I thought I’m sure I can gather those items. I couldn’t find anyone else in my area arranging a drop off point so I thought I can be the drop off point! I read that there are 3500 refugees at Calais but only food for 1000 or so. Many go hungry every day. I thought I’m sure I could raise money to buy food and deliver it to the camp! So that is what I decided to do!
I have set up a Facebook group called Cosmo for Calais (Cosmo being the name of our van). I am asking people to drop off donations of items on the list to my house, which I will deliver to the camp in Calais in October. I have also set up a Just Giving page to raise money. Every single penny raised will be spent on food.
I’m heavily relying on the goodwill of friends, family and the wider community but I believe the majority of people genuinely want to help but just don’t know how.
So here’s a way:
1) Please visit and like my page Cosmo for Calais to keep updated/ support
2) Please share my page so as many people as possible know about it
3) If you have items on the list to donate please drop them to my house over the next few weeks (email firstname.lastname@example.org for my address)
4) Please donate via my just giving page. Every penny will be spent on food.
I thank you all in advance.
Together we can do something good!