The European refugee crisis has become one of, if not the most, polarising issue among Europeans in recent times. The shocking images of a war-torn Syrian and refugees’ desperation to escape have been tempered by issues of immigrant’s ties to terrorism, serious crime and various clashes regarding cultural value systems. In general, it seems that Europeans are mostly sympathetic to their plight, but there are high levels of reserve towards helping them once they arrive.
However, the issue of illegal immigrants and refugees in the continent is not new, Europe had already been struggling to come to terms with the issue. The recent influx has simply raised the situation’s profile and forced Europe’s hand in finding solutions.
Over time a number of locations across Europe have served as the most vivid visual reminders of the current situation, and it is to these places thousands of short-term volunteers, who feel obliged to help, travel to support those leaving their previous lives behind.
Arguably the most famous of these locations is what became known as the Jungle in Calais France—a tent city of roughly 6000 people from a variety of nations who were attempting to enter the United Kingdom. Cinnamon interviewed five of these short-term volunteers to learn about some of their motivations, experiences, and thoughts of being there earlier in the year.