Monthly Archives: May 2014

France expels migrants from Calais camps

French police dismantle three camps housing around 650 migrants

Originally from AlJazeera &  Click here to access video.

French riot police have started evacuating three campsites housing hundreds of immigrants in the northern port town of Calais, days after the anti-immigrant National Front party won over the ruling Socialists in a European election.

Wednesday’s evictions, denounced by local rights organisations, had been announced by a local government prefect a week earlier on the grounds that the makeshift camps posed problems for public health and safety.

“This is not a new issue for the French government. People have been coming to Calais for years now to try to get to the UK,” said Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from the scene.

“The problem is, under the EU law, Dublin Convention, people must seek asylum where they first land. For many of these people, that is Italy. By the time they reach Calais they pass maybe four to five countries. The French government is saying that other countries in Europe should share the burden.”

Calais has for years attracted floods of immigrants who flee poverty or conflict in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, many of them hoping to cross the narrow sea channel to Britain by ferry or the sub-sea train tunnel.

“This is sad, and it changes nothing,” said Jalal, an Iraqi in his 20s who watched as police moved in. “I’ll move my tent somewhere else … but I am staying put (in Calais). What else can I do. I will try again to make the crossing. I did not come here just to give up now.”

Many of the estimated 600-800 immigrants living in the three camps had moved out before the well-publicised evacuation ordered by Denis Robin, prefect for the Pas-de-Calais region.

Pas-de-Calais lies in north-west France where the National Front won 34 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, one of its best tallies and a tripling of its score from the 2009 EU election.

The FN has long campaigned for a dramatic reduction in immigration and opposes the “Schengen” borderless zone at the heart of the 28-member European Union.

What are your thoughts on these expulsions? Do you think the FN party will increase these anti-immigrant actions on  other “public health and safety” grounds? Do let us know our thoughts!

Solar Lamps for University Students in Dadaab

Support the INDIEGOGO Campaign to buy solar powered lamps for refugee and local university students in Dadaab, Kenya , These lamps will enable them to complete schoolwork at home.

The Solar Lamps for University Students in Dadaab campaign aims to provide solar-powered desk lamps to refugee and local students in Dadaab, Kenya who attend  tuition-free post-secondary education programs offered for the first time ever in Northeastern Kenya through the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project.

**Contributors who wish to receive a receipt for their tax-deductible donation should include their full name and mailing address when making their contribution.



 The Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project provides educational programs in one of the largest refugee camps of the world, Dadaab, Kenya. The BHER project also creates space for local Kenyan students in Dadaab to benefit from these programs. Completion of these programs keeps women and men from precarious forms of employment and wins them internationally recognized credentials and marketable skills that they can use to work in situ, to be employed in Kenya, in their country of origin, or wherever they resettle.



 A significant barrier identified by BHER students to completing their coursework is the inability to find adequate lighting during the evening. For many students, the ability to access study space with electricity and adequate lighting is often limited outside of class time. The restrictions for women students are often greater because of responsibilities that require them to be home in the evenings and also because of safety concerns faced by women when going out after dark.   

 A simple solution with a broad impact, solar-powered lamps give students the freedom to complete coursework at home and enable them to succeed in their university programs. However, the cost of lamps puts this much-needed resource out of reach for students, who already face livelihood challenges under the constraining conditions in the refugee camp and locally. While students in the refugee camps have access to meager “incentive” wages (approximately 102 CND/month for highly paid refugees), these earnings are barely enough to support themselves and their families. Students from local communities may be paid at a slightly better rate (around 200 CND/month), though this amount is still highly restrictive. For both refugee and local students, purchasing a solar lamp would mean taking away from the limited household incomes that barely meet people’s basic standards of living.

Working with d.light, an international social enterprise that specializes in solar light and power products, the BHER project will use funds raised through this campaign to secure at-cost solar-powered lamps for students in the BHER program.

Help bring light to Dadaab’s refugee and local university students’ lives, studies, and futures by contributing today.




Over the next 4 years, The BHER project will serve approximately 800 refugee students. For a contribution of about $42 CAD, you will provide one student with a solar-powered lamp that will help them through the duration of their studies. This means that for every $1,000 CAD raised, 23 students will be provided with a resource that will give them the freedom to do coursework at home during the evening. For many refugee and local students – particularly women – your contribution can make the difference that enables them to complete their education.

Living at the Border

Have you heard about the Living at the Border project? Click here to find out more about this amazing forced migration focused project.

Living at the Border focuses on :

Documenting the realities of African refugees and migrants, Living at the Border captures everyday life in Italy. Through their personal stories, this multimedia project shows the complexity of their lives as they navigate through the asylum system in Europe. Field research for this project was conducted in Rome, Italy from September to October 2013.

Due to the lack of support, many asylum-seekers and refugees end up living inside abandoned public buildings or on the streets. By examining how makeshift communities are built by refugees despite government shut down of these places, this project explores how they attempt to seek acceptance and forge a sense of belonging in a new environment that is not always what it seems.

While the refugees and migrants interviewed for this project may not share the same story, they all live on the margins of society. They occupy the space between citizens and foreigners.

They are always living at the border.”

Do let us know what you think about this project!