Material Needs


In many ways the Material Needs Team is the most concrete incarnation of Sciences Po Refugee Help’s slogan: ‘Solidarity in Action’.

Our team aims to address the primary and emergency material needs of homeless asylum seekers and refugees living on the streets of Paris. For this purpose we organise several activities:


  • Collections: We organise different types of collections as well as receive individual donations. The most commonly recurring collections are organised either at Sciences Po/Cité Universitaire or directly at shops in Paris (eg. Decathlon), where we use the ‘Restos du Coeur’ model: distributing flyers at the entry of the shops detailing our needs, allowing shoppers to immediately purchase and donate as they exit the store. In addition to this we encourage volunteers to organise “mini-collections” in their own buildings/neighbourhoods, and have organised collections at for example high schools (see  this article from École Jeanine Manuel). 


The type of items we collect vary depending on current needs, but generally includes tents, sleeping bags/blankets, clothing (primarily for men), winter apparel and hygiene products.



  • Purchasing: Each year Material Needs is allocated a part of the SPRH budget which it can use to purchase items that are difficult to collect or for which there is a particularly great need (eg. tents). 


  • Storage: Everything which is collected or purchased by the team is sorted and stored in the Material Needs storage.  


  • Distributions (camp visits): This activity is essentially the core of Material Needs, where we distribute the collected items to the refugees living on the streets of Paris. Most often we go directly to the camps located in the North of Paris, which usually gather hundreds of refugees in one place. On site, we do our best to assess the needs and distribute material accordingly. In addition to our collected items we also distribute the Watizat guide (available in French, English, Arabic, Pashto & Dari), containing useful info on the French immigration procedures, legal rights as well as associations and structures supporting people in need (legal clinics, day welcome centers, soup kitchens, etc.).

  • Cooperation: Beyond its internal structure, the Material Needs Team is also in close contact with other actors on the ground in order to coordinate its actions and improve overall efficiency. These efforts include flagging to relevant organisations when we identify particularly vulnerable individuals (eg. women, children or people who are ill), in order for them to receive the specific help needed. 


Our regular presence on the ground allows us to have a concrete understanding of the daily obstacles migrants face immediately upon their arrival in Paris. In addition to addressing the most urgent material needs, we always put an emphasis on human contact and the ability to listen and exchange with those we encounter. 


Contact us! Write to

Arthur Boucher

Material Needs Coordinator

Julie Dupouy

Material Needs Coordinator

Violette Rapin

Material Needs Coordinator