I realize that last week’s stories were different from the regular Humans of Amsterdam stories. I also understand it’s hard to “like” a story that is so emotionally charged. I really appreciate you all for sticking around and taking the time to read these charged stories. For those who missed it, since October, 300 kilometers from Amsterdam about 3000 refugees have settled in to an illegal camp in Dunkirk, known as “The forgotten Jungle”. The fact that these kinds of camps even exist in Europe is madness to me. Besides Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) there are no humanitarian organizations or governments involved. Conditions in the camp are inhumane. Due to the weather conditions the entire camp side has turned into one big mud bath. Access to drinking water and proper sanitary provisions are scarce. Refugees in the camp are fully depending on the goodwill of volunteers who operate individually. To me these volunteers are a ray of hope within these circumstances. Again thank you all for supporting and spreading the word.
– Debra Barraud

“In Iran I was working as a model and I went to an international high school. Because of the rough political situation my brother and I decided to leave. We imagined Europe to be a safe haven. Our final destination is and has always been Britain. We have family there. We left when I was 18 and now I’m 20. We have done most of our journey by foot and it has been extremely rough. We experienced terrible things on the road. We have been kept in prison in Macedonia for 20 days with barely any food. Also the Belgium police have arrested us because we tried to get to Britain by truck. When they found us they drove us 68 kilometers from this camp and dropped us in the woods. They took away our money, our two cellphones and our coats and sweaters. It was raining and we couldn’t stop shivering from the cold. We just kept on walking until we found our way back to this camp. I have many more stories but I’m saving them. One day I will write a book about all of this.”

“After seeing a photo of that little boy who washed down the shore I said to myself, that’s it. I can no longer sit around and do nothing. I have four children myself and if they were in danger I would like someone to help them out. I started to collect money from friends and family. With the money we collect we buy things like water, food and needed supplies. I even sent out an email to the golf society asking for donations. There was one person who replied explaining his views on the refugee crises and why he didn’t want to donate. Later on we had a fundraising event and he ended up donating a big cheque.”

I have just returned from a trip to Dunkirk where I visited a refugee camp, known as ‘‘The forgotten Jungle’’. Since October 2015 about 3000 refugees including 300 children, mainly Kurds from Iraq, Syria and Iran who have settled into Dunkirk to make the cross over to Britain. These refugees have travelled thousands of kilometres and faced horrific obstacles on their way. People have varied reasons for wishing to come to the United Kingdom but many want to reunite with their family in the UK. The camp is build out of camping tents and due to the constant rainfall the site has turned into one big mud bath. The facilities are extremely minimal and the refugees fully depend on the goodwill of volunteers from all over Europe. I’m still very overwhelmed with the circumstances in the camp. In the next few days I will be sharing stories of the refugees and volunteers of Dunkirk.