Christmas came early to a number of families in the Jungle refugee camp outside of Calais, France! Volunteers from all over the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium brought Christmas shoe boxes, music, food, and celebration to those who are struggling through the damp cold, mud, and rough living conditions. Many of these families have been in the camp for months as they wait for either the French or British government to make a decision on their refugee status, and welcomed the distraction from their troubles. 170 shoe boxes were distributed to children in the camp, and over 1,000 people were fed over the course of the afternoon in the church area as multiple singing groups performed in the Arabic, English, and Ethiopian languages. This celebration is a continuation of Convoy of Hope Europe’s commitment to bringing Hope to the refugees. Over the last few months, our construction teams have built shelters from the weather, distributed 100 butane stoves for cooking, thousands of rain ponchos, and provided laundry services to the community in the Jungle. As long as the Refugee Crisis continues, Convoy of Hope Europe will be taking steps to bring physical, social, and spiritual help to affected families.
While a working ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine continues to elude the government and separatist forces, winter has officially arrived for the civilians trapped in the crossfire. Many have fled, but many cannot. For those left behind, the bitter cold is an unrelenting foe against which there is little hope. Because of the fighting, most cities and villages are without power and access to natural gas for heat. While the militia fight, people are freezing to death in their homes. Last winter, Convoy of Hope Europe reached out and provided 300 wood stoves for families caught in this desperate situation. These stoves serve a dual purpose. Not only do they heat homes, but they also provide a flat surface for cooking. [su_button url="http://wp.me/P1uiOf-XJ" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ed364b" size="8" wide="yes" center="yes" radius="0" icon="icon: heart-o" class="coheu"]DONATE A STOVE TODAY[/su_button] Surviving in a war zone is difficult in many ways outside of the direct threat of violence. Food supplies are interrupted and businesses close or flee. Jobs are lost, and those left behind are now unemployed with no way to support themselves. Food is scarce even for those who can afford to buy it. Over the last year, Convoy of Hope Europe made a commitment to helping those stranded in the war zone. We provided seeds and gardening tools for families to grow their own food. Many were able to can and store enough to last through much of this coming winter. In addition, we funded a new school for Ukrainians who commit to moving to the towns and villages in the war zone and act as point person for humanitarian aid distribution. These volunteers are trained in supply distribution, reporting, and counseling victims of trauma. Three classes have graduated, and those graduates are now serving in twelve cities and villages along the front lines of the conflict! Now that winter is once again upon us, we want to continue to provide Hope to those who have lost everything. Last winter we purchased and distributed 300 stoves. This year, with your help, we can do more!
On Saturday, 03 October, Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) organized two teams from Belgium for the refugee camp in Calais, France. That morning, after a major incident at the camp, all access was blocked by police except for a narrow, chaotic, path through the back. The teams constructed 4 small wooden huts to be used by women and 4 smaller tents for some of the men. The new residents were thrilled to have these simple, basic facilities. The huts and tents were placed in a square and in just a few hours we had assembled a small community in the middle of the camp. Several members of the teams from Belgium also cleaned up garbage around the camp and distributed 2,500 rain ponchos. [su_button url="http://convoyofhope.eu/donate/" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ed364b" size="8" wide="yes" center="yes" radius="0" icon="icon: heart-o" class="coheu"]SUPPORT THE JUNGLE[/su_button] At times, the hectic activity around the location became a little tense. At one point a fight broke out between a Sudanese and an Afghan just a few hundred yards from the huts. In seconds, scores of young men from either side descended on the scene, some holding iron bars. Thankfully, the situation diffused almost as quickly as it began. COHEU has made a long term commitment to this project, and are continuing to find ways we can be involved. If you would like to join with our efforts, click here!"
Over the weekend, Convoy of Hope Europe (COHEU) sent a team to Calais, France to work with the migrants and refugees waiting to cross into the United Kingdom. Conditions continue to deteriorate within the camp, known as the 'Jungle'. Food is scarce, and the rainy season has begun. With temperatures dropping, the situation is already critical. French officials exacerbated the trouble last Monday when they gassed and bulldozed sections of the camp that had outgrown the land allotted by the government. Other nearby camps were also dismantled in an effort to bring all refugees into one area. COHEU is coordinating teams to assist in cleaning the camp. Volunteers have been working hard to keep the area clear to avoid the threat of disease. Garbage bags must be removed from the camp to a separate area for city pickup. Two additional teams from the Brussels area will join cleaning efforts this weekend, as well as distribute supplies and practical assistance to the refugees and migrants. Thanks to our supporters, COHEU is continuing to provide gas burners and cooking supplies for families. Rain ponchos are in high demand, and 6,000 are ready for distribution this weekend. If you would like to contribute to relief efforts in the Jungle, click below! [su_button url="http://convoyofhope.eu/donate/" target="blank" style="flat" background="#ed364b" size="8" wide="yes" center="yes" radius="0" icon="icon: heart-o" class="coheu"]SUPPORT THE JUNGLE[/su_button]
Europe is in the middle of the largest human migration since the Second World War. Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has hundreds of thousands of immigrants fleeing their homes for safety and the hope of a better life. Syrians, Iraqis, and Eritreans form the largest factions of refugees after years of dealing with the ravages of war. Analysts estimate that over 107,000 asylum seekers entered Europe in the month of July, with August’s numbers predicted to be even higher. Jordan initially welcomed refugees from the Syrian conflict. Now that the Civil War continues into its fifth year, Jordan’s system is over-stretched by the numbers and has cut back the amount of aid available to the refugees. Security is also an issue in the camps, and crime rates are high. Many families are forced to choose between staying in an unsafe environment or finding safer shelter elsewhere, but making themselves ineligible for food assistance through the United Nations feeding programs. Many choose to leave the Middle East completely. Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Greece, and Italy see thousands of refugees cross their borders daily. Many die in the attempt, as exhibited by the 71 bodies found asphyxiated last week in the back of a semi-trailer run by a human trafficker. Others drown when their overloaded boats capsize crossing into Greece and Italy by sea. There is no shortage of dangers on the journey into Europe, but for those who have nothing left behind them, the chance to start over is worth the risk. The European Union has called an emergency meeting for the 15th of September to discuss options, though a final solution will not be easy or quick. In the meantime, refugees remain scattered throughout Europe, many living in hastily formed camps without adequate meals, clothing, or shelter. In Calais, asylum seekers waiting to cross into the United Kingdom are grouped together in tents by nationality in a dangerous area called the “Jungle.” Sanitary conditions are appalling, and they are only provided with one meal per day, usually a variation of beans. The stories are endless, and Convoy of Hope Europe is taking action. For over two years, Convoy of Hope Europe has been supporting a feeding program in two parts of Jordan for Syrian refugees. These refugees are families who have chosen to leave the UN camps because of security issues and have thus lost all government food assistance. In January of 2015, another feeding program was added for a refugee camp in Bulgaria. In total, Convoy of Hope Europe is supporting feeding programs reaching 5,000 refugees throughout Europe and the Middle East. Now, as the crisis intensifies, we are ready to intensify our efforts as well. New partnerships have been formed with church in France to start work in the “Jungle” of Calais, reaching refugees physically, socially, and spiritually. With your help, we can provide food and basic shelter for two thousand refugees. We can clean up the sanitary conditions of the camp, installing temporary toilets and digging drainage ditches. We want to restore dignity to those who have lost everything. At a time when hope is the lowest, we want to share a new Hope for the future, but we cannot do it without you.