Lliana Bird is a radio DJ & broadcaster, currently on Radio X. In August 2015 she co-founded Help Refugees, a grassroots organisation which has gone on to become the biggest provider of aid to Calais and Dunkirk, providing vital humanitarian aid and assistance to tens of thousands of refugees every day. It started with a group of friends setting out to raise £1000 to collect a van of clothes to drive to the makeshift refugee camp in Calais. Within one week they had £56,000 and enough goods to fill 10 Arctic lorries. They travelled to Calais, hired a warehouse and started building a team and distributing aid, with the help of the hundreds of volunteers and British people who came forward to ask them “How can we help?”.
Help refugees has since expanded all over the Greek islands, the Greek mainland, to Turkey and beyond. Able to work in a fast and flexible way they are able to react quickly to the ever-changing needs of this unprecedented refugee crisis. In just one year Help Refugees have become a force to be reckoned with in the humanitarian and advocacy worlds. It represents a new movement where ordinary people, aided by the new connections social media brings them, can stand up to help refugees. What does this mean for the future of charities? Are we entering a new era of humanitarian and giving and people power?
Lliana also wrote her first book in early 2016 entitled “the mice who sing for sex, and other weird tales from the world of science” which will be out in October 2016.