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SanghaSeva ~ Humanity in Action: Supporting a Safe Haven

with Help Refugees; Calais, France
23 - 29 May, 2019

Humanity in Action Retreat
23 - 26 May, 2019

Sangha Volunteer Period
26 - 29 May, 2019

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Thank you for your interest in this project. Here are further details of the retreat. We have tried to keep it as brief as possible, and such things as how to get there will be sent to you upon registration. There is a link to the registration form at the end of this page. If you wish to participate please complete it.

What's going to happen on the retreat?

This is the second time we are offering this retreat in Calais. As you will know, the camps have been closed, and many of the refugees have moved on. Yet many are still sleeping rough in the area, more arrive each day and Calais remains a focal point of humanitarian aid for refugees in Northern France, Continental Europe and the Middle East.

The retreat will be followed by a Sangha Volunteer Period, all are welcome to stay on for this, but it is not compulsory. It will be less held, structured, and organised than the Humanity in Action retreat, yet will be an invaluable support to the situation in Calais. The information on this page refers to the Humanity in Action retreat, more information about the Sangha Volunteer Period will be given by email.

We will be offering support to two organisations in the area Help Refugees and Refugee Community Kitchen. They are both doing invaluable work in providing essential services to the refugee community.

During the three day retreat we will spend two full days volunteering in the warehouses, participating in the humanitarian work. We cannot predict the exact work we will be doing as the situation there is always adapting to the needs of the moment. But on previous occasions we have volunteered in the kitchens, helped sort donations, do general work in the warehouse and help make parcels for distribution. The Sangha Volunteer Period will add at least two additional days in the warehouse or kitchens.

We feel very privileged to be working with these organisations, which are inspiring in both the work they are doing, the way they function, and who they attract to volunteer with them.

The aim of the retreat

"No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land."
- Warsan Shire

This retreat is a chance for us to offer our solidarity and care to people who have been seriously let down by humanity. We all have much to learn about what it is like to have to leave all of your life behind you; your home, your country, your family and friends... We also have much to learn about what it is like to be seen as an unwanted element in your new country.

We hope that we can offer something of value with our short time in Calais. We also hope that this can be the beginning of our journey of opening to what it means to be humanity; to act with humane hearts; to embrace all of our human race; and remain sensitive as we touch this painful reality.

“Refugees have done more for my heart and my spirit than I can ever express in words.”
- Angelina Jolie

A lot of work is going into offering a safe haven here, it's an honour to be able to join this movement.

Suggested schedule

Our working days volunteering in the warehouse will begin at around 9am and run till 5pm. We will begin those days with a silent meditation and breakfast, before riding the bus to 'work'. We will take lunch with the other volunteers at the warehouse. Our evening meals will be prepared back at our shared accommodation. We will have time in the evenings for discussions and reflections, and end the day with a meditation.


We wish the facilitation of this retreat to provide a safe environment that will allow each of us to freely offer our wisdom and support to each other. We envision this retreat as an experiment of living and working together, with each of us participating and contributing to the fullness of the retreat.
Our facilitators offer their time and energy freely and do not receive any payment for what they do. You are welcome to offer them a donation at the end of the retreat. See below for more information about supporting the facilitator.

This working retreat will be facilitated by Nathan Glyde.

Practical details


On our two work days we will have the lunch that is prepared by volunteers on site at the warehouse, for all other meals (breakfast and dinner) we will prepare them as a group.
The food will be vegetarian and vegan.


We will arrange for all of us to stay in local accommodation, with our own kitchen and meditation space. This will allow us to take meals together, meditate, have group discussions and time to process our experience.


We are doing the best we can to keep the costs as low as possible. Yet the costs of accommodation in Calais are quite high. To make the retreat accessible to all we have a sliding scale of rates.

  • The standard rate is £150/€170; this covers the actual costs of the retreat.
  • We also have a reduced rate of £130/€150 for people who cannot afford the standard rate.
  • Additionally we have a sponsors rate of £165/€190 for people who can afford to give a little more to support those who cannot afford the standard rate.

We also have an assistance fund for anyone who would like to come but cannot afford the rates above. Please don't hesitate to contact us for further assistance with the costs.

Please note: The rates above are for the three days of the Humanity in Action retreat, the additional Sangha Volunteer Period will cost a bit more.


To register your place for this retreat we require a non-refundable deposit of £75. The remainder will be paid in Euros cash when the retreat begins in Calais. The deposit helps us to know we can cover the accommodation costs we will need to book in advance.

Financial Assistance and Dana

The cost of this retreat does not include a fee for the facilitator or managers. They are offering their time and teaching as part of an ancient system of ‘Dana’- an old word from the time of the Buddha meaning ’generosity’. This is a gift economy in which teachings are offered freely, and those who come to hear them are invited to offer donations to support the teachers to continue offering more in the future. We will explain more about this in our booking materials and in the week.

If you would like to join the retreat but require financial assistance, please do contact us. If you are touched by this project but cannot join us, you could also help by sponsoring someone else to go, please contact us for further information on how to do this.

What happens next?

Fill out the registration form and you will receive an email with more information; such as how to get there, and how to pay the deposit.
If you do not hear from us within a week, please check your spam / junk mail and if our message is not there please contact us again.

For any questions please contact us

To register your interest for this retreat please fill out the form