This week the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp has been officially pronounced empty after months of controversy. The resistance by UK and French governments to assist the refugees and migrants in the camp has been condemned by Amnesty International in a formal statement. The dismantling, facilitated by French police and bulldozers, became more chaotic when a fire took hold in the camp.
Now, 300 child refugees from the camp are being registered and processed into the UK.
Would you house a refugee in your home?
Jacquelyne Wynde, 80 years old, Retired (previously worked in childcare)
“Well, they’d have to be quite young, under seven. If I had the right accommodation I would, but I definitely don’t have the right accommodation at the moment.
“I just feel very sorry for them but you see, the children have all been moved from their families haven’t they? They’ve come farther and farther away from them and it’s an entirely new life for them isn’t it? Coming to Wales where everything is so different from what’s normal for them – and there’s schooling and everything isn’t there? They have to be well-educated, you know, to learn the language and the way of life. The food and everything is different, so it would take quite a time for a child to come and settle.”
Dan, 13 years old, Student
“I suppose I probably would, if they really needed it, because obviously they’ve been through a really hard time that’s forced them to move from their own country to here. I would feel sorry for them after what they’ve been through. They haven’t got anywhere to live. They’ve got no shelter. So, I would.”
Scott Price, 28 years old, Carpenter.
“No, because I don’t trust no one, especially some stranger.”
Left: India Lais, 20 years old, Student. Right: Amy Simpson, 19 years old, Student
Amy: If I could yeah, because these people are fleeing from all sorts of horrors and wars and I think it’s a show of humanity to give someone shelter and safety.”
India: “Yeah, I mean obviously, I’d want to help out in any way possible. If the shoe was on the other foot I would like that to be done for me so I’d willingly do it for someone else.”
Gwyn Lewis, 64 years old, Retired (Internal Auditor for Building Society)
“No, but the refugee is not the thing. I wouldn’t house anybody if you know what I mean. I’m an independent person. I don’t need the rent, therefore I wouldn’t consider it. I wouldn’t want the responsibility if they needed helped and assistance – I wouldn’t be interested, basically.”
Aaron John, 24 years old, Support worker for young people with learning difficulties
“Yeah. I don’t live in my own house at the moment but I would. I’m currently living with my grandparents so I can’t.
“I think these people have been through a lot. If my city, if my home was blown up, I’d like to think that if I fled somewhere that’d I’d be, you know, looked after, I guess. I kind of feel you should treat people as you would [like to] be treated yourself. It annoys me that there’s a lack, seems like there’s a lack of empathy towards other people at the moment.”