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No barriers or walls, playing football with the Calais Jungle’s refugees

A crowdfunding campaign allowed realise a football pitch in The Jungle in Calais, Northern France, which is home to thousands of refugees.

When it comes to migrants, some people build walls while others create playing fields. The latter option has been chosen by #Play4Calais, UK crowdfunding campaign aimed at creating a football pitch on the other side of the Channel.


More precisely, in the Calais Jungle, the refugee camp in Northern France that has been many times cleared out by French authorities but still home to over 6,000 adults and 600 children trying to reach the UK.

 

giungla calais migranti calcio
Playing football in the Calais Jungle

 

The campaign aims to make refugees’ experience in Calais more human, by giving donations to organise recreational activities. The campaign is led by British actress Alix Wilton Regan, who posted her plea on the crowdfunding platform GoGetFunding asking people to give their contribution – for a minimum of one pound – in order to organise sports activities and screen movies. “With little to do and tensions high, refugees are desperate for respite care and community building activities to take part in,” wrote the actress. “A few brief hours of cinema screenings and play-time helps people take their minds off the pain and trauma they’ve already experienced and often continue experiencing at the hands of the authorities”.

 

giungla jungle calais francia calcio migranti
Playing football with migrants in the Calais Jungle

 

The first match was played in mid-April on a sand pitch realised by the volunteers of the NGO ACTED, while the police monitoring. The crowdfunding keeps going and has reached 55 per cent of donations needed. In Calais, the project is supported by the Women and Children’s Centre, the Boys Youth Centre, and the Good Chance Theatre (volunteer groups established in the camp), while movies are made available by The Lexi Cinema of London and by traveling cinema The Nomad.

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