Baloo’s Big Move

This week, we are delighted to announce that we have accepted an offer from Medecins Sans Frontieres to join them in creating a youth only space in the North of camp. Specifically for teenage boys, the area will be cordoned off from adults ensuring a protective space for the minors where they can access the support networks they need in one place. Alongside our youth centre, it plans to hold a legal centre, a psychological support centre, a welcome centre and a volley-ball court/ football pitch all catering for under-18s only. As well as this, the Hummingbird Space that holds art therapy sessions for the boys also plans to move to a space adjacent to this area. We are extremely excited about the move, as it will enable the boys to access all the support they need from one location. The move will also situate us in the heart of camp which we hope will increase our numbers. With the clearing of the land beginning on Monday 9th May, our relocation is expected to be complete by May 21st.

The move has come at an essential time as we are seeing more and more new boys arrive in camp each day. With the weather now warming up, the Jungle is seeing an influx of people including a large number of unaccompanied minors, 10 years old being the youngest currently known to us. In an effort to support these children at their most vulnerable, we are upping our outreach work to include evenings and nights to connect with the most marginalised boys who sleep during the day.

As well as the camp witnessing an increase in new arrivals, we have also seen a large number of boys make it across to England in recent weeks. However we are concerned that those who make it across are still exceptionally vulnerable as they remain alone and are often unsure of their next move. In an effort to protect them, we are reaching out to the Refugee Council UK who can then connect with them and provide them with the best possible support.

Finally in relation to the Youth Centre, we have had another busy week filled with education, sports and other creative activities. On Monday 2nd, a pop-up cinema screened ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ for the boys. These screenings are highly sort after as the chance to watch a movie allows the boys to temporarily forget the everyday stresses of Jungle life. Other activities included a two-day circus workshop that involved making your own juggling balls from sand and balloons and the weekly competitive football match. Education has also continued everyday this week with the boys learning a mixture of French and English in the Jungle Books ‘Blue Room’, as seen above.

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