Baloo’s update

The evictions of the Southern Sector are all but done, leaving desolation in its

wake. Of the three and a half thousand people living in the eviction zone only a

handful of buildings remain, protected by the court order due to their communal

service. Our Youth Centre is one of these buildings that has yet to relocate.

Numerous discussions have occurred amongst the team as to whether we move

to the Northern Sector or remain where we are, and we have decided to stay put

for the time being. Although slightly isolated from the rest of the camp this has

seemed to work in our favour. An aura of tranquillity has descended on the

Southern Sector now that the destruction is over. With few people left milling

around, the quietness and calm allows the boys to properly escape the Jungle

and come somewhere that is safe and secure. Our concern for not moving was

that we would see a dip in numbers, however this is just the opposite. We are

seeing the same boys repeatedly come to the Centre as well as many new faces.

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With the evictions over we have managed to resume normalcy at the Youth

Centre with the pool table and table tennis competitions in full swing (as seen

below). Sports are back up and running with football being played on the 100m

zone as well as a beach outings when the sun is shining. Now that the area surrounding

the youth centre is vacant we plan to lay out a football pitch on one side as well

as have cricket nets on the other for the Afghan cricket fans.

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Aside from the Youth Centre, the team has been busy coordinating contingency

plans for the boys for life after the Jungle. Although few adequate options exist,

we have been meeting the French departments for immigration and asylum as

well as other actors to get the boys the information they require to make this

crucial decision. Acting as a ‘go-between’, we are trying to provide information

on asylum, protection and family reunification for the boys in a child friendly

language that they understand. However the process has been frustratingly slow.

 

As the majority of the boys have moved to the Northern Sector, it has been of

utmost importance to relocate them. Therefore we have pushed on with the

tracking and monitoring system in an effort to judge their vulnerability and

regularly check up on them. However, the evictions of the

past two weeks have revealed the danger for these boys as we have lost nearly

half of our previous number. We are working extremely hard to relocate these

boys and make sure they are safe but it demonstrates the importance of

providing mobile phones and credit to these unaccompanied minors in case they

disappear.

Finally, one member of the team has been working consistently in Dunkirk

investigating the potential for a Youth Centre in the new camp. We hope to set up soon.