Last Sunday, hundreds of Morzine residents poured into the Aubergade Hotel to support refugees in Calais at the second Jungle Jam event.
With more of a festival-feel than a fundraiser, the Jungle Jam was buzzing from morning til’ night. Families enjoyed treasure hunts and bouncy castles, a BBQ smoked under garden tents, there was even a mini market where you could sample local cakes and honey, buy handmade jewellery, or get your hair and nails done.
Behind it all was event organiser Cecile Burton, 24, who is passionate about helping the refugee crisis in Calais. Having spent a month in the Jungle working for L’Auberge des Migrants last year, she has returned for her second ski season in Morzine to raise awareness.
“I wanted to do something as soon as I got here.” Cecile said. “So I sat down with a friend and we created the Peace and Dove Project in December, and then held our first Jungle Jam event in January.”
The Peace and Dove project has been hugely popular in Morzine. It’s a simple idea: for a small donation, you can make an origami dove. Local businesses have jumped to get involved, many of Morzine’s shop windows now display dozens of white doves made by customers. Nearly £700 has been raised from this project alone.
“Charities can become resented because people feel pushed to give. The Dove project aims to inspire and inform people about what is happening in this country we’re all guests in.” Cecile says.
As well as local bands Amy Dearlove and Cab Collective playing live music, a big draw of the day was the raffle. Forget cheap bottles of wine and body lotions – this raffle had over 40 prizes donated from local businesses in Morzine, including goggles, clothing, yoga classes, dinners for two and more. Each lucky number read out was received by squeals of excitement in a venue where it was standing-room only.
Joss Ford, Marketing and Events Manager at the Aubergade, had worked with Cecile on the first Jungle Jam event, where they raised £1,500. “The community is super powerful in Morzine.” He says. “Getting everyone together has been amazing. It’s the best way to raise money for charity – to have a party but also to educate with more information.”
As well as an incredible turn out, the donations were overwhelming. Nearly 50 bags of clothing were dropped off throughout the day, which Cecile will be sorting through before sending straight to Calais.
“We want to preserve their dignity and humanity with the best quality clothes possible.” She says. “But we’re still desperate for warmer clothes, kids’ sizes, they’re often starved and tiny when they reach us.”
It’s hard not to get inspired to help after talking to Cecile, especially as she recalls stories from her time in Calais.
“Every night you see them leave when it gets dark, trying to get across the border. Then you see them walking back at 7am, defeated. If one person makes it, the whole Jungle somehow knows.”
She will be returning to Calais to volunteer again in the summer. The next step for her is to get more people in Morzine involved. “I’d love to organise a group together to go up and spend some time there. People want to help, they just don’t know where to start.”
If you’d like to get involved, get in touch with Cecile:
You can read about her time in Calais last year: