30. August 2016 · Kommentare deaktiviert für The Facebook campaign funding phone credit for refugees · Kategorien: Frankreich · Tags: ,

Quelle: The Guardian

In the Calais Jungle, refugees are desperate to speak to their families back home. Now, a Facebook group allows people to donate money for mobile top-ups

Most people would see clean water, food and clothes as essentials, but a phone might not be thought of as a necessity. Yet for the thousands of displaced men, women and children in refugee camps around Europe, they provide a vital connection with home.


Now, a grassroots organisation is offering refugees help to maintain links to their families. Members of the Facebook group Phone Credit for Refugees and Displaced People can respond directly to an individual’s request for help, sending them £20 via the group to top up their phone.

James Pearce, 32, a social services worker from Norfolk, started making volunteer runs to the Calais Jungle at the beginning of the year. He was struck by the number of people, particularly unaccompanied children, desperate to speak to their loved ones. He started the group in February, and was soon joined by others who had seen the humanising effect a means of communication could have on someone alone and fearful in a foreign country.

Aziz, 29, from Afghanistan, an assistant to an MP, lives in a Red Cross camp in Belgium. He told group members: “The refugees who are exactly in need of your help, they will never forget your single cent of help (sic) because we left our loved ones in war, in darkness, and you help connect us with them.”

That simple gesture of acknowledging someone as not just a charity case, but a fellow human being, suffering the heartbreak of enforced separation, is what has driven so many to join Pearce in his efforts. The group has swelled to 20,000 members and has raised almost £100,000, but the pile of requests increases daily and Pearce fears they won’t be able to keep up with demand.

“My hope for the group is that we will be able to grow to the size necessary to meet the need that’s out there,” he says. “And in the process, that we can humanise and raise the profile of those caught up in the refugee crisis among ordinary people.”

Already working alongside Calais youth services and the local women’s centre, Pearce wants a major charity already involved in the refugee crisis to support their efforts and enable them to widen their scope.

Those wanting to help can search the Facebook group, send PayPal donations to phone.credit.1@gmail.com, text CALA85 and the amount you want to donate to 70070, or contribute via the My Donate page.

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