Poncho Project

ponchos worn by refugees in CalaisWe make ponchos for refugees in France and to sell to supporters in the UK – can you help?

In February we made 600 ponchos for refugees in France, which were delivered to the Help Refugees warehouse in Calais with our convoy at the end of the month. But we’re going to be making more!

How to get involved

No experience is necessary, you don’t even need a sewing machine (though it helps). To register your interest please email ponchos@camcrag.org.uk

Background to the project: The problem

In the autumn of 2017 we were considering the problem of how to help refugees in France stay warm, especially at night. Blankets have a short half-life – often discarded within days – partly because they are difficult to carry, and partly because they are easily confiscated by the police.

Aid organisations in Calais are reluctant to distribute good quality clothing – e.g. jumpers – until they have several hundred, as only giving a few refugees such items can lead to disagreements and increased tension. Buying hundreds of items of new clothing would also be prohibitively expensive for a small charity like CamCRAG. What was needed was cheap, wearable, warm items which could easily be purchased or made in bulk.

The solutionblanket to poncho

To turn cheap blankets into wearable ponchos! By bulk purchasing simple blankets, obtaining a sewing pattern, and organising a weekend sewing session, we were able to produce 125 ponchos to send to Calais before Christmas!

They proved popular with refugees, so we made another batch of 300 to go out with our January convoy – and we purchased waterproof ponchos to keep them dry in the wintry weather.

This batch was kindly been funded by a grant from the Radley Trust, your donations, and a bulk-buy discount on blankets from Ikea.

But we wanted this to be an ongoing project, so we can carry on making ponchos!

How you can helpPonchos

If you have ideas for the project we’d love to hear from you!

Perhaps you can’t sew, but you can think of a corporate or private sponsor who would be interested in financing a batch?

Or you know somewhere to buy blankets made locally out of sustainable materials, thereby reducing the air miles and environmental cost of manufacture?

Email us at ponchos@camcrag.org.uk