‘No matter how tired we are, or how long our week, meeting with the boys on a Wednesday evening is truly a highlight.’
I had the pleasure of meeting the very wonderful Chrissie and Gerard of SOS Chai who are busy in the Caen/Ouistreham area of northern France. Here they’re working with locals and international volunteers to bring good food, a warm welcome, respect and a lot of care and compassion to the few hundred mostly African kids surviving homeless in the area as unsupported asylum seekers.
Twice a week Chrissie and Gerard take their second-hand ambulance – packed up with freshly cooked food, games, stools to sit on, a little stove to make coffee, some much-sought-after shower gel and shampoo, packets of biscuits for tomorrow, water to refill bottles, and lots of parental-style care and love, to these young men. Boys who left their own homes and families often years before.
“There are families as well. There’s one squat here in Caen that has 250 living in it at the moment, including children and families. But those with children tend to get taken into some kind of shelter, whereas the single boys often get left out. They have to fend for themselves.”
“Some of them will spend about three days down in Ouistreham, where they have to live in the forest or in ditches, there are no facilities at all. Then they’ll sometimes come back up here to Caen, walking about 18 km up the river, to try and regroup, to get their energy back up.”
A wonderful project that Donate4Refugees is very proud to partner with and offer our support to.