Maman Dorothy S Refugee Aid

One extraordinary woman.
On a mission to help all she can.



Dorothy Saudemont: the Grand Maman of Calais, Northern France

“You can call me Dorothy”. “Can I call you Mom?”


Mommy, Maman, Mama … These are the beautiful names by which the loving figure of 76-year-old real-life grandmother, Dorothy Saudemont, is known by refugees across the makeshift camps of northern France.

Travelling from Belgium three days per week for the past 7 years, Dorothy gifts everything she – and her packed car – has to offer with so much energy and kindness, that it is no wonder she is beloved by our refugees and frontliners alike.

Most volunteers in the camps know just how difficult and hectic it can be to organise a distribution and have people needing help form a calm line: not so Dorothy!

When Dorothy drives into the camps in her Citroën filled to the brim with neatly packed hygiene products, everyone organises themselves immediately into neatly formed lines to receive whatever goods she can gift and that are needed that day.

From left to right: Caroline, our Director of French Operations, Dorothy Saudemont, and founder of ORAT, Onjali Rauf


Based in Belgium, with her garage having been converted in her unofficial wonders workshop, she drives to Dunkirk, France, and partners closely with the Mobile Refugee Support (MRS) team.

Any spare goods she has, is stored at our warehouse in Dunkirk, where she has her own very special section.

Dorothy began working in the camps in 2016, particularly with the Refugee Women’s Centre (RWC).  We were introduced to her in 2017, as “someone you must meet and will instantly adore” by our own Caroline Cottet. Which, of course, we did!


Dorthy packs her car with only the essentials.


Dorothy makes magic happen with every donated item. By listening to what is actually needed on the day she arrives and bringing only those items, she limits waste and reduces the creation of rubbish piles in the camps. Due to the small scale of her operations, the most crucial donation that can be made to her is the funds she needs to purchase fresh foods (like bread, fruits etc) on the day she arrives for distribution. This ensures the food is fresh and avoids cramming her garage.

Each year, as more and more charities reduce in size or pull out of coming to the camps altogether such as Choose Love has done, serious food shortages have become a regular daily struggle. To meet needs, Dorothy also now brings food packs into the camps twice per week in the evenings.

Dorothy currently uses her own pension and small donations from friends and family for her works. Our Ramadan Appeal seeks to ease that burden.

Distributing food has now been taken on by Dorothy to plug starvation gaps.


ORAT supports Dorothy with purchased items and funds, depending on what is needed and how much additional capacity we have.


Support our Ramadan Food for A Year Appeal’s Food Pack fundraiser so we can help fund Dorothy’s works for the coming months.

OR! If you’re a frequent flier / hotel stayer, perhaps you can gather and send us as many of the following items for her to distribute (please Contact Us if so for a delivery address):

Dental kits / Toothbrush & mini toothpaste set
Mini Shampoo, Conditioner and Body Wash bottles
Mini soaps
New Combs
New face towels
Travel sweets/lollipops

PLEASE NOTE: As part of our policy and out of respect for those receiving our gifts, all goods donated to us for Dorothy must be brand new.

Donate funds for Dorothy’s Food Packs HERE. 

If you can donate any brand new travel items as listed, please Contact Us HERE citing ‘Maman DS’.