Volunteering for Care4Calais
Care4Calais is a charity which supports refugees in France, Belgium and the UK. The charity is run by volunteers and has a big network throughout the UK. Many of us are based in Henley and Reading. We mainly support refugees in Reading and nearby towns. We provide clothes, laptops, phones, advice, befriending and drop in places where refugees can meet, get advice, get food or a haircut. Most items are donated to us by our friends and neighbours. A few weeks ago we provided coats and clothes for 82 refugees who are staying in a hotel. Some of them have been in a hotel for up to 3 years stuck in a small room unable to cook for themselves or go to work. It is worse for the families where there can be 4 or 5 of them staying in one room.
Before Christmas I was asked to do a welfare check on 20 refugees living in 2 private houses. The refugees who responded to my message turned out to be persecuted Christians who told me about their escape from their country where they would be publicly executed for converting to Christianity. One of them walked from Iran to the UK for 2 years without any financial support from his family or friends. Both of them are very committed Christians reading their Bible every day. One of them got baptised recently. The other one is a church leader who leads an Iranian church in London. The church grows every Sunday and they are thinking of moving to bigger premises now.
Facts about the refugees:
Many of them never wanted to leave their countries and families but because of the war or persecution they had to escape.
Many of them do not choose to come to the UK. They waited for asylum in other countries for 2 years and they never got it so they decided to move on.
On two occasions I saw the refugees offering food to the homeless people in Reading.
They don’t want charity and they want to work but they cannot do it until they get a visa and they can only work if their profession is on the government shared jobs list which means many of them cannot work legally even if they get leave to remain in the UK. They are automatically disqualified from working by the UK government.
Find out more about the charity here.