Thursday, 23 February 2017

Unaccompanied Children in Northern France

ACIC is absolutely committed to being non-political and non-judgmental – its only concern being the welfare, health and education of children who find themselves in critical need. 

For the past two weeks we have been working alongside both French and UK charities in Paris, Dunkirk and Calais. The aim of this has been to help to give support to young refugees, to gain more first-hand knowledge and to assess the situation of young people as it might relate to the situation of the children we work with in the Holy Land. The whole situation continues to be a confused mess post ‘Jungle’. Unaccompanied children are living and sleeping precariously on the streets or in the countryside in extremely cold and foul conditions amongst adults from different nations with no apparent solution in sight. I have worked in some ‘interesting’ places during my career and am mostly unshockable but to hear that children are being raped or are being prostituted in order to raise money to pay traffickers shocked me to the core. As a result, many children are suffering enormous physical and mental trauma. Again, as I written previously -  there are the blaggers and the criminals but the vast majority are good and decent people who are fleeing conflict or desperate circumstances. An army of volunteers supplying urgent humanitarian relief, made up of a hugely disparate group of people of all ages and backgrounds with a common cause. All, I think, with good, compassionate and giving hearts, some naïve, some more realistic but all just trying make a positive difference to those in need. It is with a feeling of impotence, though, that it is just a sticking plaster (an essential sticking plaster) on such an impossible situation. I would say most urgently that if we do not care and show compassion to today’s children – what hope is there for the future?

No ACIC funds were used for this exercise

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