The ending to this week has been very sad and distressing for everyone in the camp. Several large fires on Thursday night have burnt down the homes, tents and belongings of hundreds of residents, leaving so many without shelter or safety. Anna Kalin and Naomi Press of the Art Refuge UK team worked alongside Medecins du Monde and therapists from the Tavistock to continue to hold open the safe space and offer psychological support on Friday.
Many of the residents who regularly use our services came to see us on Friday; they have nowhere to sleep and have lost everything. For many of them, this loss is all too familiar, having already experienced multiple losses of homes, loved ones, belongings and places of safety many times in their countries of origin and along their journeys.
People are exhausted, frightened and deeply saddened by the events of the last few days; struggling to hold onto hope and meaning in this incredibly challenging situation. As people gathered together in the familiarity of the Medecins du Monde space to talk and make alongside us, they worked hard offer support to each other and to hold onto the connections that bring value and respect. There was a sense of shared understanding of the challenges they face together; the energy and effort required to begin again once more.
Art continues to provide a place of safety, positivity and meaning when no other seems to exist. Images of flowers, forests and meditative symbols were made by those who came to the space yesterday. We will continue to hold these safe spaces of creativity and psychological support in the camp, working closely with our partner organizations to provide consistent and valuable care, solidarity and respect to the individuals we work with.