Crisis on the Polish border

We’re currently fundraising to help thousands of refugees who are trapped on the Polish border – as temperatures plummet the crisis is deepening and people are dying.

Latest news – Sleep Pods and Livestream

All about Change has partnered with the UK charity Sleep Pod to distribute life-saving shelters for refugees. We’ve collaborated to fund the first volunteer-led build of pods in Europe, for distribution to people in need of shelter at the many border “hotspots” of Europe.

Our fundraiser Livestream on 29 December went well. Groups joined the chat room from around the continent to give updates on how they work with refugees providing solidarity and care for those in need. In the same venue playing the tunes, we also conducted a pod build skillshare and Justin taught around 12 of us how to build a Sleep Pod. We ran three builds, with around 20 people at each on 30 December and 2 & 3 January in Berlin, building 200 pods as well as finishing 50 Justin brought from the UK.

After this, we travelled to the Polish / Belarus border and met with people from Ocaliene and Granica groups, as well as the No Border team. These volunteers are working to support refugees who cross the exclusion zone into the forest on the Polish side, where freezing temperatures, bears, wolves, boar as well as other dangers such as vigilante groups threaten their lives. We had a few days there meeting and chatting to those coordinating volunteer groups, the pods were met with a warm reception and we left 110 of them there.

We decided against trying to take them down into the Balkans, as getting things over the borders into Serbia and Bosnia takes time we just don’t have on this trip, but we put the wheels in motion to make it possible to get pods there in the near future through No Name Kitchen, who work in both countries. Instead, we’re connecting with volunteers in Ventimiglia (Italy) and have agreed to leave 110 there too, for the people crossing the 2000m mountain pass by foot at night. So the first build of sleep pods in Europe will support groups at opposite sides of the borders of fortress Europe. In just two weeks, with your help, we’ve built and now distributed over 240 Sleep Pods to where they are needed most.

Thanks to your generosity and donations, we’re doing what we can to make this an ongoing project, building in Berlin, and supplying to groups on the borders.

Sleep Pods are one-person shelters that provide vital protection from hypothermia and exposure from extreme weather conditions. Each pod costs £30 of materials to build, so please do continue to share/donate to our CrowdFunder as this will help us to build and distribute more to people desperately in need. We now have a 100-strong team of volunteers in Berlin sourcing materials and building pods and aim to continue to provide Sleep Pods to refugees on the Balkan routes, the Belarus/ Poland border and in Ventimiglia on the Italian/French border for the coming few months until the temperature rises enough that people aren’t in danger from the cold.

Huge thanks for your continued support, we are in the midst of a very cold winter out here, despite the mild temperatures in the UK, so please do share this around and donate whenever you can. Regular donations are of huge help sustaining projects like this which can’t run without your support.

One love, Dav and the All About Change team.

The situation on the border

The right-wing Belarus government sold tickets to refugees fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East and Africa, promising them entry to the EU. It then bussed them to the Polish border and shoved them through, often violently. But right-wing Polish authorities imposed a state of emergency that allows them to ignore asylum requests, sent thousands of armed guards to the border to push refugees back and started to build a Trump-style border wall. The state of emergency also means Poland set up a 3km exclusion zone and won’t let supplies or medical aid though. As a result, children, women and men are stuck without food or shelter – they can’t travel forward into Poland and Belarus won’t let them travel back. So far, official reports say at least eight people have died, but it’s feared the true figure is far higher.

How Can We Help?

All About Change is in touch with local people on the frontline of the Polish border. Although it’s widely publicised that large NGOs and charities can’t get aid through to refugees, local charities and many people living inside the exclusion zone, are doing everything they can to help. This is where you come in as through them – with your support – we can get help and supplies directly to the refugees. All the money we raise will buy food, medical supplies, warm clothes and shelter for people trapped there. As politicians bicker, people are dying. Your help and generosity is the one lifeline that we can offer to thousands of refugees trapped in this limbo of hell.

Please join us on 29 December for a Belarus border crisis Livestream solidarity event with food in Berlin and Bristol!