Hospital worker’s second mercy mission to refugee camps

A Nelson man has made a second trip to northern France to deliver aid to those struggling to survive in refugee camps.
Saj Ull-DinSaj Ull-Din
Saj Ull-Din

Saj Ull-Din travelled down to visit refugees in Calais at the end of October after previously travelling in September

Saj, a pathology associate practitioner at Royal Blackburn Hospital, travelled to France with his colleague Azim Mirza as part of the ‘Convoy to Calais’ which has been organised by a team of volunteers called Drive for Justice, who are aiming to raise awareness about injustices taking place across the world.

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Saj said: “We have all seen the situation in ‘The Jungle’ in Calais and other refugee camps across Europe in the media, and we have all read descriptions of the dire conditions people are living in.

Convoy to CalaisConvoy to Calais
Convoy to Calais

“So we launched an appeal to staff working at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as friends and family.”

Thanks to the generosity of his colleagues and his friends and family, Saj and Azim were able to deliver hundreds of items including bags of clothes, food, hygiene packs and gas stoves.

“Thank you to everyone who donated, especially hospital and laboratory staff who donated the majority,” continued Saj. “The support we received was overwhelming, we never envisaged what we received of the quantities being donated.”

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Saj and Azims first journey to France took an unexpected twist when their route change at the last minute, and they were diverted to a refugee camp in Dunkirk where families with children were living.

Saj said: “The desperation of the people living in this camp was clear.

“What was humbling was the fact the refugees only asked for what they needed and the left us alone, they were not selfish and recognised the fact our limited aid had to be distributed evenly across the camp.

“Both of us have seen such conditions before in other countries thousands of miles away on different continents.

“But the fact remains that we have one very close, on our own doorstep, just 350 miles away and it’s important to understand these people are humans and require the same as we all expect.”

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