10th October 2017
We asked one of our Collective Funds, CalAid, to write us a piece that gives us an insight into what they do on a day-to-day basis, and why their work with the refugee crisis is so important. Here’s a piece from the CalAid team telling us what they’ve been up to and where their current focus is.
CalAid is providing help, hope and dignity to refugees and displaced people in Northern Greece having formed in response to the humanitarian crisis in Calais in 2015.
Since then, the organisation has become the predominant distributor of Non-Food Items (clothes, shoes and hygiene products) to the camps in the region. We work closely with other agencies, such as Oxfam and UNHCR, to ensure our work is sustainable and complimentary to ongoing efforts.
This summer the CalAid Shop was opened. This is a place where refugees are afforded the basic dignity of choice; of clothes that they like, clothes that fit, clothes that make them individual. The shop provides high quality donated clothes, shoes, underwear, headscarves, hygiene items and toys.
This Week CalAid have been running Coat Week from the shop, ensuring every refugee has a coat and winter wear ready for the cold weather.
Alongside our partners, One Refugee Child, we distribute Baby Kits to all expecting mothers in the region.
Focus on: The Optics Project
CalAid is the only organisation in the region providing eye tests and glasses.
This demand was first identified in the social and educational space constructed by CalAid where teachers observed that many of the children could not read at a distance. It became apparent that there was no provision to meet this need and so the Optics Project started.
Phase 1 of the project works collaboratively with a local ophthalmologist and site management teams to provide on-site eye tests for all refugee children in the region. Glasses and advanced testing have been provided where necessary. The majority of Phase 1 was accomplished between October 2016 and July 2017.
Phase 2 involves offering the same provision to all referred adults. This includes self referrals as well as from medical agencies on-site. Transport is coordinated in order to bring the beneficiary to the ophthalmologist’s office. This currently works alongside the completion of Phase 1.
CalAid aims to provide the appropriate service to every displaced person in the Epirus region in need of optical care. In the longer term, it is the organisation’s objective to widen the reach of the project.