A interfaith group working with refugees in Calais with the charity, 'Help Refugees'
From 9:00am until 8:00pm
At Calais, France & London, UK
St. Ethelburgas / +447958032258Eleven young sacred activists living in the U.K. Eight different faiths. Five consecutive days in Calais. One common cause; the global refugee crisis. I'm part of a young group of activists collectively working to raise awareness of refugees in our local communities. With less than 2% resettled in the U.K, we have come together to find creative solutions to raise this figure and help the U.K become a home and reunite with their families. We meet once or twice a month to listen, exchange ideas and learn from guest speakers. This is all in preparation for a week in February in Calais to assist the charity 'Help Refugees'. In between chopping carrots, providing clothes, blankets, and warm food, we will spend time with the people we want to help empower. It's an opportunity to share stories, and to listen to their hopes and their fears as an uncertain future lies ahead of them. With the wisdom of eight sacred faiths between us, we hope to create a circle of support, compassion and a commitment to learning about the beliefs and traditions of others. It is a chance to reclaim the role of religion as a source of peace and reconciliation in a world blighted by persecution and injustice. From the Abrahamic faiths to Nontheistic traditions, our group is united by universal values of fairness, generosity and kindness. Our faiths are our source of inspiration and guidance and together we learn from one another through our actions. Buddha's teachings on old age, sickness and death are as relevant for refugees and hosts citizens alike. Our emphasis is on the similarities that bind us together, to expand the confined world of the self to a world-embracing gesture of hope. The vision for Bahá'í world peace slips harmoniously into the hands of ahiṃsā . There are no ministers or creeds within our group, the Quaker practice of silence as prayer is valued as much as speech and action. From each other, we have learned that our actions begin with ourselves. A simple yoga movement can bring us into contact with the Divine, our thoughts dancing to the tune of Krishna to calm the mind in turbulent times. After our week in Calais working with refugees, we will return to our local communities and create projects to inspire others to get involved and keep the ripples moving into waves of change. In the spirit of the common word, we are using our talents as writers, poets and youth leaders to become the change makers of tomorrow. From directing school plays charting a child refugees journey to hosting refugees in our faith communities, our variety of projects reflect our diversity of religious cultures. Our work is to show our communities that the 99 names of Allah are inherent qualities hidden in the faces of refugees, often obscured by political rhetoric and aggressive media campaigns. Just like each verse of the Torah has 70 different facets, our job is to challenge commonly held beliefs about refugees and offer a different perspective to our faith communities. In our increasingly pluralistic world, to help thy neighbour as thyself is an opening to a bridge that can unite creeds and cultures. Our collective effort is a demonstration of our solidarity with the 65.6million human hearts displaced from the lands they called home.