Calais fundraising for JN May 20 by Jenni Frazer
Pupils at Yesodey Hatorah school in Stamford Hill have become the first to support a campaign to help refugees in the Calais jungle.
Rabbis and imams from across London went to Calais at the beginning of February, and were shocked by the conditions they saw.
As Rabbi Natan Levy, the interfaith and social action officer at the Board of Deputies, explained, the “vital link” in improving the situation lies in the trained volunteers of Help Refugees working in Calais. “They distribute food, clothing, medicine, legal advice, housing materials and much else to the refugees, in the right quantities and to the right people”.
Practically speaking, Help Refugees need to fund continuing rental costs for the caravans which house the volunteers, next door to the refugees’ camp. For four volunteers in each caravan, the cost is 600 euros a month, or £5,600 a year.
The rabbis and imams believe that an annual contribution from the UK will allow the Help Refugees Charity to devote its volunteer energies to helping the people who need it.
Rabbi Avrohom Pinter, who went on the February visit, said it was a “wonderful idea” and announced that the Yesodey Hatorah pupils had immediately responded to the campaign. It is hoped that more synagogues and mosques will join in to underwrite the volunteers’ rental costs.