In the autumn of 2015 when we visited the Dunkirk Camp we were shocked to find a field of mud and water surrounded by scraps of tents filled with families, living with no infrastructure at all and very little hope.
Over the next months the Dunkirk camp attracted similar grassroots organisations to ours and many independent volunteers, who came to help the people living in these terrible conditions, aid was given, rudimental infrastructures were built, food was served day and night, there were legal teams, doctors and teachers all doing their bit and alongside all this there was constant lobbying to the mayor of Dunkirk and local council to do something urgently.
This pressure culminated in the ground braking decision for France to build the first official Refugee Camp in Europe. The local council with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and other french associations prepared, cautiously to build a camp that would shelter the refugees and give them time to address their complicated asylum cases.They wisely called on the grass roots organisations and their collective experience of working for many months in the the nearby Calais camp, to help design, build and run the new camp.
Refugee Community kitchen had been serving food in the destitute Dunkirk camp for many months and was called upon and charged alongside Aid Box Convoy with designing and stocking the kitchens and communal cooking spaces.
Together with many volunteers hands, 7 communal spaces were built, each one with an identical separate woman’s side, where the new residents could come and cook on wood burning stoves (no gas is allowed onto the camp) as well as a women’s only space. All the areas were built from shipping containers, wood and long lasting sustainable materials donated by the hundreds of donators and the cosmetic company Lush.
These paces have been used daily since completion in April 2016 and are today holding up to be dignified spaces were the 1200 residents can come together, keep warm and cook safely.
Today we are alongside L’Auberge des Migrants continuing to support the camp with maintenance, hot food, cold food for the free shops, with flour and fuel for the bread ovens and with equipment for the kitchen.