In my role as co-founder and National Chair of Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) UK, I have been co-ordinating regular solidarity and humanitarian aid distributions including convoys since 2015 to people who are refugees in Northern France together with NEC member Hector Wesley who is also a BARAC officer. We specialise in addressing cultural and religious needs and also focus on urgent emergency supplies which change all the time.
We work closely with three charities in France, L’auberge des Migrants, Refugee Community Kitchen and Help Refugees.
We organise fundraising initiatives in order to purchase food, clothes, camping equipment, toiletries, blankets and other emergency supplies and essential items and we are grateful to PCS and TUC Race Relations Committee in supporting us in this work and to PCS members who have purchased tickets for our Black Members Social at ADC in 2018 and 2019, the proceeds of which went to our aid work.
There is still a great need for support as people are living on the roadside in places like Calais and Dunkirk, without shelter or access to adequate regular water and sanitation. The winter months are of course the worst having to survive outside.
Those who find themselves stranded in France are mostly trying to be reunited with family, friends and community in the UK. The vast majority of people are young men including children in their teens who are alone without parents or other adult family members and should be protected as children. They are people who are fleeing persecution, poverty, conflict and climate change, sometimes a combination.
Here are some key ways to help support our humanitarian aid and solidarity work with refugees in France:
1. Donate to the BARAC UK Humanitarian Appeal by visiting the GoFundMe page here:
https://www.gofundme.com/nvbvy8qc. Alternatively send a cheque made payable to ‘BARAC
UK’ with the form below to: Zita Holbourne, BARAC National Chair, PCS National Vice
President, PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LN.
2. Drop off essential items to our distribution point at PCS HQ. Please address items (see list of items needed below) to: Zita Holbourne, PCS NEC, C/O Harvey Jacob (for Calais), PCS HQ, 160 Falcon Road, London, SW11 2LN.
3. Sponsor transport & travel.
4. Join a BARAC distribution by bringing a vehicle full of aid.
5. Organise a fundraising initiative in your branch or group.
Contact Zita Holbourne, BARAC Co Chair by email:
Barac.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Zita Holbourne, National Vice President PCS