Calais 'Jungle': Unaccompanied children - Day 4

Calais 'Jungle': Unaccompanied children - Day 4

Today I met and filmed unaccompanied children in the “Jungle Kids Café” set up as a safe place for kids to hang out during the day. Adults aren’t allowed inside. Most of the kids looked tired. Some were playing pool but there were no smiles. Most were opposed to filming.

I shot a couple of young teenagers on the sand dunes on the edge of the camp. They told me how they had fled Afghanistan in fear of the Taliban who’d killed members of their families and were hoping to get to the UK.

While I was filming Pete went back to the car to collect a big bin bag of trainers we’d collecting from the UK . On his way back he was ambushed by migrants — someone whispered the word ‘shoes’ — and would have lost the lot if it weren’t for his quick thinking: he employed the services of the biggest guy he could see who used his bicycle sideways to clear a path through the mob, with Pete, limpet-like behind him.

There has been much talk of kids looking older than their ages. I think everyone in the camp looks older than their years for obvious reasons: Try fleeing your country, travel half way across the globe the hard way, live in a tent or makeshift shelter for a few months without adequate food or basic living facilities in a foreign country with no clue as to your future and see how young and fresh you look and feel.

By the end of another long day Pete was clearly affected. He said his four kids were going to learn all about Calais….and lose their trainers.

Article Author: Dave Mason

Dave is Mentor’s Head of Media Training. His extensive career in broadcasting spans 25 years across radio and television. He has coached members of major public and private sector organisations, as well as the UK Armed Forces and NATO around the world for the last five years. Dave is respected for his inspiring training, which is supportive and concentrates on fast learning development. A founding presenter and shareholder of Somerset’s Orchard FM, he went on to work extensively in commercial radio around the UK, as well as BBC News where he was a Correspondent at BBC Radio 5 Live and Radio 1 Newsbeat. Dave has been a TV presenter, reporter and producer at ITN in London, GMTV, (ITV Breakfast), ITV News (Westcountry and Wales) and HTV West. He was one of GMTV’s senior producers for a decade, covering major international, domestic, political and entertainment stories. His roles have included senior news producing and planning, undercover investigations, war reporting and features production. He still broadcasts as a pundit on BBC Radio and is a visiting lecturer at the Universities of Bath Spa, Gloucestershire and the Cardiff School of Journalism.