Following the recent outburst of media attention given to the refugee crisis throughout Europe a few months ago, the situation has been put aside and the spotlight removed from the on-going, critical state of cities such as Calais, France. The Pipedream Projects consolidates that the issue needs constant attention and that there are refugees in need of support and help, which the media has quietened down on. Humans of Crisis, an event held at Headrow House in Leeds city centre, honed in on the very subject of the forgotten refugees.
With an array of scattered cushions on the floor and hot drinks to hand, the atmosphere in Headrow House was both intimate and inquisitive. Stations were set up around the room for contributions of clothes and money to be sent personally to the refugees living in the Jungle in Calais by The Pipedream Projects Team later this week. As the first part of a 100-day project, Humans of Crisis opened the doors for discussion, debate and desire to help those fleeing from detrimental situations in their home countries.
Emotional photographs were displayed around the room, taken by one of the members of the team that had returned from Calais, adding a personal touch to drive home the demand for humanitarian help in this particular area. A workshop was set up on another side of the room for people to leave messages of comfort, hopefulness, and positivity that would be translated to refugees in the Jungle. A great collaborative effort was displayed that invited the public to get involved in the cause.
The main aim of the day was to raise awareness of the difficult situation that refugees are still facing and to explore understandings of the crisis. Through the photographic exhibition, short film screenings and panelled workshops, Humans of Crisis managed to engage with a predominantly student audience on the harsh reality that refugees must face on a daily basis, both in their journey from fleeing their home country and the consequent results of arriving at their new destination.
The panellists showed sensitivity, integrity and positivity through illuminating the efforts that the city of Leeds is making as a humanitarian response to the crisis. As representatives from a range of Leeds-based charities and independent organisations, they provided the audience with an array of opportunities to get involved, as well as clarifying what a refugee is and exploring the reasons behind how and why refugees flee their countries.
Not only was Humans of Crisis an eye opener towards the daily struggles that a refugee in the UK must face, but showed the hard work of organisations such as PARAFAS, STAR and SOLACE in supporting refugees in Leeds.