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Voices #5 'Grown Women Ask Me For Diapers'

Madeleine is currently on the ground volunteering with the Refugee Women's Centre. She is 24 years old, from Bielefeld, Germany and is Studying Education Sciences and Philosophy with a focus on Ethics, Human Rights and Social Work. This is her first time on the ground and she explains her impressions in and around the informal camps.

'Many families with babies and small kids have arrived in the Dunkirk Jungle over the last few weeks. Every time I prepare the distribution of clothes in the warehouse, I throw a glance at the box filled with baby socks and the baby bottles and my eyes fill up with tears. It is getting cold here and we are getting short of sleeping bags and tents. The only things we can give out are woollen blankets. I can’t imagine how hard this situation is for a family on the run with an 11 month-old baby…

Nobody leaves his home, his family, his friends by choice. When I talk to the people living in the Jungle they sometimes tell me about their home. Most of the people are Kurdish from areas in Iraq and Iran. They miss their country, but they know they can’t go back.

Some of them have spent time in Germany. After waiting up to three years for a residence title they didn’t get, they had to take to the road once again to find for a safe home.

Growing up in a peaceful country and generation, it’s hard to imagine what it’s like to flee from death and to be on a seemingly endless journey, to lose hope every day and not to know if you will even get somewhere.

This is the situation of the people I meet every day in the Jungle. They are so grateful for the donations they get from our team, but I know it isn’t enough. They have nothing except for what they get from volunteers and even this is taken away by the police.

A woman is standing in front of me. I can see her despair. She holds a little girl in her arms. She is 14 months-old and wears soaked sleepers. Her mother tells me that the police have not only taken the sleeping bags and tarps this morning, they took her clothes and all the baby stuff, too. What happened to humanity in this place!

In the Jungle, people don’t even have toilets. Grown women ask me for diapers because they are too scared to leave their tents by night… Is it normal that one part of humanity is sitting in front of their TV by night, feeling completely safe and the other part is sleeping on the street with their kids, freezing. How can we live in a world like this? I wonder why these people don’t have the same human rights we have. “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”

The situation here is hard to imagine. I can’t express how every single fate touches me every day. Still I am happy to be here and to have the possibility to help on the ground. I want to emphasize that this help won’t be possible without your help and your donations. Please keep looking for sleeping bags and tents you don’t need anymore. Each donation is so valuable here. Each sleeping bag, each tent helps us to give a family a tiny home and a shelter from the rain and cold.'

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