The Calais Jungle

In the summer of 2015 four strangers with a shared passion for education met and came up with an idea to take education to the residents of the Calais Jungle.  If people couldn’t go to school, then we would take school to them.  We started a fund-raiser, bought a double decker bus and transformed it into a mobile classroom.  While the bus was being transformed, Kate moved to Calais with her family to develop a teaching methodology that went beyond verbs and algebra, that responded to both immediate and long term needs and supported refugees in relearning life in another language.  So that they could begin to stand on their own two feet again.

Education is a basic human right.  It is something that cannot be taken by force or lost to the seas.  It enables people to look after themselves and others and to build a future.  By teaching people to speak English and French we enabled them to communicate in a common language; to ask for the things that would make life a little bit more bearable and to reclaim a little independence. By teaching unaccompanied youngsters how to cook they were able to feed themselves and their communities with food that they liked to eat and that would nourish them.

We taught people to build and they built their own shelters and tables and even a school and community kitchen.

Over the year our team of volunteers, led by Louise Hamill, worked alongside thousands of people from all nationalities, ages, genders and backgrounds. Thousands of donations had supported four complete strangers to build a team and make an idea become a reality.  With more than 70 volunteers including 53 trained teachers we were beginning to make a difference.  Then the Jungle closed and we had to rethink our approach.

When we returned from the Jungle we took all that we had learned about emergency education and developed Crisis Classroom.  Something truly magical happens when humans spend time with one another.  When they learn from one another.  When they feel safe and listened to and can begin to understand one another better.

We are developing practices that can support anyone in crisis, no matter who they are, no matter where they are in their journey, no matter what.

If you would like to volunteer with us, please email Kate@crisisclassroom.com or click the link on the home page.