Aber2Calais: A student response to the refugee crisis

THE SYRIAN Refugee crisis is a story which is constantly evolving, it seems as if every day the horror that these migrants face is increasing, however there is one constant; the need for aid. Students Abi Wren, Freddie Mackereth and Billy Kingsbury have formed the group ‘Aber 2 Calais Student Solidarity’ with the goal to provide the vital aid to those in need, and they need your help. We met up to ask them about the cause.

What’s your overall aim?
We are aiming to take a convoy of aid to the refugees, containing essential items such as blankets, tents and clothing, ready for the winter. We were originally going to take this over to Calais but as the need is now greater in Greece we are now aiming to do a longer road trip to take it to the refugees there.
You had a day of collecting aid in the student union, what was the response like?
The response was fantastic! Not only did students donate but we had a number of locals from Aberystywth also bring donations over. We managed to collet 2 cars full of donations and students also helped us raise over £50 to go towards the trip and more aid.

How vital is the aid?
With winter on its way the aid is incredibly important. Many of the refugees now in Europe came with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. Warm clothes and shelter from the wind should be a human right not something that people have to go without, so all donations of aid whether big or small will make a massive difference to the way these people live until a long term solution is agreed upon.

There’s been a some of scepticism surrounding the crisis since the recent Paris attacks, some even on your Just Giving page. How do you respond to this negativity?
Our hearts go out to the people involved in the Paris attacks, but this is not a reason to stop helping the refugees. Many people now see them as a threat rather than realising that it is attacks like the one in Paris that these people are running from. No person would leave their home if they had any other choice. We need to break down the barriers between us and them that many people are insisting upon and simply work together as human beings, leaving race and difference behind us.


How and when will you be delivering aid to the refugees?
We are planning a weeks road trip all the way to Greece to distribute the aid ourselves at the beginning of next year. Although people may not see this as the most cost effective way of helping, we have decided to go straight to Greece so that your donations can be of instant help, rather than sitting in a warehouse all winter like much of the aid is going to do in Calais due to lack of volunteers to sort it.

What can we do to help?
We will be collecting donations of aid right up until we set off on our trip next year. We have a facebook page called Aber 2 Calais Student Solidarity where you can find out more information on what types of aid we are collecting. We also have a Just Giving page (see below) in order to fundraise for our trip. Any donations, big or small that anyone is able to give would be greatly appreciated and all go towards helping us get your donations out to Greece as soon as possible!