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How to help Ukrainians in Paris and across France

A range of services are available for Ukrainian refugees in France - but more donations and volunteers are vital, and there is also an appeal for help from English-speakers in Paris.

How to help Ukrainians in Paris and across France
Ukrainian refugees arrive at Paris-Beauvais Airport. (Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt / AFP)

The city of Paris is working to offer a network of arrangements for Ukrainians arriving in the capital.

A first port of call should be the Ukraine Emergency Centre, at 39, rue des cheminots in the city’s 18th arrondissement. 

Run by France Terre d’Asile, a non-profit organisation that supports asylum seekers and advocates for asylum rights, staff at the centre will be able to assess the specific needs of refugees and their families and ensure they get the help and support they need.

A number of venues around the city are already welcoming Ukrainian refugees, and offering a range of personal, administrative, and legal support services.

In addition, nurseries and schools in Paris will be available to accommodate children of refugee families, and school canteens will serve food for free. Counselling and psychological support to children and their families will be available.

Travelling through France to the UK

Ukrainian refugees planning to travel through France to the UK as they flee the Russian invasion should travel to capital Paris, rather than ports like Calais.

The reason for this is the the UK government has refused to waive visa rules, and Ukrainians who try to travel to the UK without a valid visa will be turned back.

The process of getting a visa – which are only issued in certain circumstances, mostly to people who already have family in the UK – involves an in-person interview at the Visa Application Centre, which is in Paris.

READ ALSO EU countries agree to lift visa rules for Ukrainians fleeing war

The British Embassy told The Local: “Ukrainian nationals seeking to travel to the UK should call the Home Office on +44 300 3032785.

“The visa application process includes attending an appointment at a Visa Application Centre (VAC). The VAC in France is in Paris: details are given when the appointment is booked.”

How people across France can help Ukraine refugees

The Ministry of the Interior has set up a web page for individuals in France who want to help refugees. It offers advice for those who want to offer temporary accommodation, as well as other, equally valuable, aid to help Ukrainians who plan to stay in France for some time.

The Croix Rouge and the ACTED association are co-ordinating the donation of clothes and other items, while financial donations can be made to by sending cheques to:

Croix rouge française – conflit Ukraine 2022. 

Croix Rouge française CS 20011

59895 Lille Cedex 9

In Paris, mairies in all arrondissements will be open on Saturday to collect donations. The list of items that are urgently needed include: 

  • Hygiene products such as shower gel and shampoo;
  • Period products;
  • First aid material, such as plasters and bandages;
  • Dry foodstuffs including pasta, rice, packet soup, tea, instant coffee;

Check with the website of the arrondissement’s mairie for items that are specifically wanted.

READ ALSO How you can help Ukrainian media

Many Ukrainians have English, rather than French, as a second language. Any English-speakers in Paris willing and able to volunteer their time to help refugees should first contact Fabrique de la Solidarité.

The City of Paris has released exceptional emergency aid of €1 million to help associations in the capital organising the collection and delivery of food and basic necessities to Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

Premises have been made available for storage of donated products that are awaiting transport.

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Paris street art legend Miss.Tic dies aged 66

Miss.Tic, whose provocative work began cropping up in the Montmartre neighbourhood of Paris in the mid-80s and made her a pioneer of French street art, died on Sunday aged 66, her family told AFP.

Paris street art legend Miss.Tic dies aged 66

Radhia Novat grew up in the narrow streets in the shadow of Sacre-Coeur basilica, the daughter of a Tunisian father and a mother from Normandy in western France, where she began stencilling sly and emancipatory slogans.

Her family said she had died of an unspecified illness.

Other French street artists paid tribute to her work.

On Twitter, street artist Christian Guemy, alias C215, hailed “one of the founders of stencil art”. The walls of the 13th arrondissement of Paris – where her images are a common sight – “will never be the same again”, he wrote.

Another colleague, “Jef Aerosol” said she had fought her final illness with courage, in a tribute posted on Instagram.

And France’s newly appointed Culture Minister, Rima Abdul Malak, saluted her “iconic, resolutely feminist” work.

Miss.Tic’s work often included clever wordplays — almost always lost in translation — and a heroine with flowing black hair who resembled the artist herself. The images became fixtures on walls across the capital.

Miss. Tic with some examples of her work. Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP

“I had a background in street theatre, and I liked this idea of street art,” Miss.Tic said in a 2011 interview.

“At first I thought, ‘I’m going to write poems’. And then, ‘we need images’ with these poems. I started with self-portraits and then turned towards other women,” she said.

Miss.Tic also drew the attention of law enforcement over complaints of defacing public property, leading to an arrest in 1997.

But her works came to be shown in galleries in France and abroad, with some acquired by the Paris modern art fund of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, according to her website.

And cinema buffs will recognise her work on the poster for Claude Chabrol’s 2007 film “La fille coupee en deux” (“A Girl Cut in Two”).

For a spell she was a favourite of fashion brands such as Kenzo and Louis Vuitton.

“So often it’s not understood that you can be young and beautiful and have things to say,” she told AFP in 2011.

“But it’s true that they sell us what they want with beautiful women. So I thought, I’m going to use these women to sell them poetry.”

Her funeral, the date of which is still to be announced, will be open to the public, said her family.