Unless you don’t watch TV, take part in social media, read the news, you probably are aware that there is a massive crisis happening all over Europe at the moment with thousands and thousands of refugees (I get angry when people call them migrants, because the two words have meanings that are very different, my husband is a migrant, he came here to work and live because it was a lifestyle choice, someone coming from Syria fleeing from war and devastation is not a migrant they are a refugee) trying to get to other countries because where they have come from, the situation is so dire that they cannot live there any more. Their lives are in danger, and their countries are being torn apart by war and other issues. These people are desperate. They are walking miles, living in dire situations, facing danger, and difficulty, to get to somewhere better and safer. They are mostly coming from countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East. A large number are coming from Syria.
Why, you ask, is a middle class mummy blogger from London, bringing this up?
Because three weeks ago, we drove through Calais, close to where the camps that are featuring on the news and social media, are situated. We actually saw people, families, pregnant women and children, sitting on the side of the road, waiting to grab any opportunity, no matter how dangerous or risky, to try and get to MY country, because where they have come from is not a safe place to be any more. I don’t know their histories or stories, but I saw a child sitting on the side of the road, with a backpack, waiting. That child wasn’t that much older than my daughter. It has been on my mind ever since, that the situation is becoming more awful, and will not be going away any time soon.
I won’t go into the politics of the situation, I have strong opinions on the matter, but I can tell you that watching the news reports of the little boy that drowned last week, and seeing children and families in such hideous circumstances, has touched me more than I thought something ever could.
These are children, who are dying or suffering. Whatever the choices made by the adults around them, to either stay in a dire situation, or put themselves in a dire situation to escape to something better, these are children. They don’t have a choice or a voice and they are being hurt, killed, or utterly damaged by what is happening in their lives. Sitting in my comfortable home, with my children safe, clothed, fed, able to access a good education, healthcare, and the most worrying thing for them is what their new teachers will be like at school next week or what movie they want to watch tonight, makes me feel like I should be doing more. We have a nice life, and we do do a lot to help locally in our area (I currently work with families and children locally, and am co partnering in the start of a charity to help with some families locally) we donate to various charities, we support others in their work both locally and internationally, but I feel like by at least writing this blog post and sharing I am doing a little bit more.
Before you accuse me of armchair activism, I will point out that we are already having discussions about how it would be possible for me to go on a trip to Calais this winter, to help out in any way I can, and how we can work with some local anti trafficking organisations we both have contacts with, to do more to help, and we have various other things in mind, as well, not just asking people to donate or raise awareness. I am not just sitting here telling you what to do with your money. I want to do what I can, physically, too. This blog post is just part of that.
Maybe it’s not enough, maybe it’s too little, maybe it is too late, maybe I am being all middle class about something that in reality, I cannot solve or hope to have a quick answer to, but it is better than doing nothing. My children are lucky and safe, but there are many, many out there that are not, and we want to do our tiny bit to help. We have already donated, and you can too.
There are 5 ways you can help practically, or you can donate to Save the Children, on their website here or you can sms 70008 with the word Syria in the message to donate £5. It all helps, it’s better than nothing. You can follow the #SaveSyriasChildren on social media to see what is happening and other ways to get involved, or spread awareness.
This video was put together by some wonderful bloggers, some of whom I know and some of whom I don’t, to get a message across. It could be our children, it isn’t but that doesn’t mean we can’t all do something to help…
Thanks for reading. Comments will be closed if I feel that what people are posting is unhelpful.