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Branson 'admires entrepreneurial spirit' of Jungle refugees

Published 19/02/2016

Sir Richard Branson asked for people's help to end the 'inhumanity and injustice' of Europe's refugee crisis
Sir Richard Branson asked for people's help to end the 'inhumanity and injustice' of Europe's refugee crisis

Sir Richard Branson has spoken of his admiration for the entrepreneurial spirit of refugees, migrants and volunteers at The Jungle camp in Calais.

The Virgin tycoon told of the steps some have taken to ease their plight at the French camp where thousands are based after fleeing war, poverty and persecution.

He asked for people's help to end the "inhumanity and injustice". And he spoke of his astonishment that such a crisis was happening in Europe, so close to Britain.

Sir Richard said: "It's hard to look at the images of this camp and believe that this is happening in Europe, a mere 20 miles from the UK's shores.

"At the same time, I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the camp residents and volunteers in finding ways to ease their discomfort, from setting up shops to generating their own power through dynamo bikes that can charge mobile phones.

"They also try to use the little resources they have to help others. I was inspired by the story of one Syrian refugee, Omar, who uses his mobile phone to help save refugee lives in the Aegean Sea.

"His WhatsApp group provides weather reports and geo-tracking as refugees cross, and calls the coastguard if they lose contact."

Sir Richard this week joined 145 celebrities in signing an open letter calling on David Cameron to help save children based at The Jungle.

They want the Government to step in and allow unaccompanied children living in the camp to be reunited with their families in the UK.

The call came as eight charities wrote an open letter condemning the bulldozing of the southern half of The Jungle.

The organisations say the refugees will effectively be made homeless because no viable alternative accommodation options have been offered.

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