Activity Calais Migrant Solidarity: practical solidarity with refugees in the heart of border regimes


Participants spent time at the migrants’ squats and “jungles” (a term for self-organised refugee camps) and shared stories and experiences with migrants; engaged in direct support such as distributing tents, blankets, clothes, food, water and firewood to the squats and jungles; and reflected on these experiences in the meeting space afterward.


Participants also took part in discussion sessions reflecting on three topics: long-term strategy, gender & solidarity activism and anti-burnout / trauma methods. Two further practical trainings took place that included fieldwork: documenting human rights violations and media outreach.

The last stage focused on creating a long-term impact by developing a strategy for engaging in migrant solidarity activism; devising concrete methods of dealing with burnout and trauma in Calais; making agreements on working groups to continue the work begun during the activity(trauma support team, legal advice for refugees team and a group developing booklets.


  • Empowering young activists to strengthen the application of relevant tools to the practice of claiming refugee rights
  • Influence relevant decision-making institutions from local
  • Support local community empowerment & inter-cultural understanding
  • Network young people active in European migrant solidarity work and develop strategies for next steps
  • Develop foundation to transform practical work into distributable resources

Concrete Outcomes

  • setting up a regional trauma and burnout support team with members from France, Germany and UK and including reserving 2 physical locations close to Calais (1 in France and 1 in UK) that function as safer spaces to relax and take a break from work in Calais.
  • formation of a Berlin-based Calais support group to organise collective travel to Calais and info-events, and raise donations
  • formation of an European-wide group that will provide updates on asylum policies and process in EU countries in languages such as Arabic, Pashtu, English and French and distributed in flyer form in Calais for general use
  • increased practical skills/experiences with refugee support work
  • longer term considerations for strategy in Calais and other locations of migrant solidarity
  • follow-up workshops took place in Spain, Serbia and Romania to share the results of this meeting
  • promoting intercultural understanding and countering rising xenophobia in Calais
  • participating activists empowered by this meeting now have the skills and confidence to engage with relevant decision-making processes in order to claim refugee rights