House more refugees says Calais helper Lulu

Lulu Jervis hands over toys to refugee children. Photo by Vicentiu Garbacea
Lulu Jervis hands over toys to refugee children. Photo by Vicentiu Garbacea

A Harborough area woman says Britain should help more refugees, after visiting the camps in Calais.

Lulu Jervis (26), who lives in East Farndon, near Market Harborough, said the UK government needed to remember that refugees were victims, not threats.

“My visit made me realise that the people in these camps are good people with a tragic past being refused a home by rich countries.

“The people in the camps include doctors, teachers, people who want to contribute and can contribute.

“Britain could do so much more to help. We have so much space and so much money in this country, but the money all goes to the wrong places and unnecessary wars.”

Lulu drove a van load of sleeping bags, tents and other aid to Calais, after “feeling I just had to go”.

She said other people who wanted to help should check exactly what was needed and liaise with local charities.

She said she delivered her aid to a huge warehouse, before visiting the refugee camps, known as The Jungle.

What she found, she told the Mail, was a well-organised town of tents and makeshift ‘igloos’, just off a motorway junction.

The Jungle houses, she believes, more than the official French estimate of 3,000 people.

“In one regard the camp is impoverished” she said. “I saw families living in terrible conditions on land that’s basically muddy sand.

“But on the other side it’s organised, there’s some routine and everything that’s needed is available from shops or charity services.

“I kept some toys with me to hand out to children” she said. “One little girl in particular wouldn’t take my gift unless she could give me some of her bubble gum in return.

“But increasingly it’s not this sort of aid people here need, but things like education and health.

She stressed that people living in the camps were not just from Syria, but also from African countries, Iraq and Eastern Europe.

“I spent the whole day with an English-speaking Iraqi man who taught me about the camp and through whom I met many other beautiful people and learned some of their triumphant and heart-wrenching stories” said Lulu.

“These are fleeing people looking for a normal life who have landed in limbo land, being so harshly unwelcome in the new home they travelled so far for.”

Britain is not, in fact, even the favourite destination for refugees.

According to the EU’s statistics body Eurostat, Germany saw the most non-EU asylum seekers in 2014 - almost 203,000 - followed by Sweden, Italy, France, Hungary, and then the UK.

“But Calais made me realise we all want the same thing: happiness, family, a home, comfort” said Lulu.

“These individuals are not apart from us, they are the same, made of the same stuff.

“Words like migrants, refugees, asylum seekers encourage disconnectivity, when it could so easily be you or your friend in one of those tents .”