When we arrived in Britain, fleeing the Nazi occupation of Europe, one of the most precious gifts given to us was to be able to continue our education. Many Kindertransport survivors went on to achieve success in their fields; there were four Nobel prize winners, mathematicians, composers and doctors. The education we were provided with enabled us to give something back to Britain, and we were proud to do so.
This week we travelled to Calais to meet unaccompanied children whom Citizens UK are helping reunite with their families in the UK. We delivered school books and dictionaries with the humanitarian organisation Help Refugees. On average, the children we met had been stuck in the “Jungle” refugee camp for up to seven months and had been out of education for three years. Much longer than we ever were.
The prime minister has promised to speed up family reunification for refugee children stuck in Europe trying to reach their families in the UK. The evidence we have seen shows that it is still taking too long. We ask the home secretary, Theresa May, to take action to reunite the 157 children stuck in Calais with their families in the UK in time to start school in September.
Lord Alf Dubs and Rabbi Harry Jacobi