South London Photographer: Calais

Recently I was asked to accompany an Earlsfield based association to document their trip to The Jungle in Calais. In the near future Just Shelter aim to raise funds for charities, Calais Kitchen and Jungle Canopy,  who feed and help people living in the camp. Please follow Just Shelter to find out more about upcoming fundraising events. There are no NGOs operating properly in Calais and so the volunteers working there are doing so under extremely difficult conditions and really need any help they can get, as do the people living in the camp. With so much going on in the world the media have moved away from The Jungle and donations are less forthcoming. It is becoming harder to maintain the support that is required.

Here are a handful of the images from my previous trip. Please see my site for other images showing some of the conditions people are living under. You can also visit Just Shelter or Calaid-ipedia for further information about what is needed and how you can help. Just Shelter is planning another trip very soon and will welcome donations of money or goods, but please check with Just Shelter about what is  required.

All images (c)SJField 2016

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Taken from inside a makeshift kitchen. We were offered tea, coffee and snacks, as is usual there. The people I spoke to here had been living in The Jungle for almost a year.
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Although the authorities succeeded in demolishing this section of the camp there are still just as many people living very close by and about a hundred arriving daily*.
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The packing containers which have been used to house some people are woefully inadequate. There are no cooking facilities and limited bathrooms.
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I was told that one of the hardest things, amongst many, is having very little to do. Kite flying is perhaps difficult for the authorities to prevent. Destroying the street with its makeshift cafes, as well as preventing external groups from being there in order to provide something to occupy people’s time, is a cynical strategy aimed at breaking down morale amongst residents.
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Although this church was left standing another was demolished despite assurances it wouldn’t be. As was a school. This church is now surrounded by wild scrub when just a few months back it was surrounded by the people it served.
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Another area where once there were tents and shelters.  These were bulldozed in March. Thousands of already displaced people were forced to set up just a few yards away.  There are more than 7,000 people living there and no NGOs in place. The charities work tirelessly to help and are privately funded with donations. Volunteers fund their own travel and board.
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Sanitary towels are of course really important for women. I can imagine how uncomfortable and difficult it must be to have your period and not have a bathroom to use.
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The warehouse we visited is a huge operation being run entirely by self-funded volunteers.

 

*https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/27/calais-camp-france-food-refugees-business-companies-support

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