This project involved supporting the education of children in the camp at Calais known as ‘the jungle.’
Over a 4 month period from October to January we deployed between 2 and 3 teachers to teach at Calais. We did not have a fixed base, but instead we used the facilities of already existing groups within the jungle. We worked out of facilities run by Jungle Books and facilities run by the Ecole laique du Chemins des dunes. We sometimes worked out of more informal community group huts or shelters.
Our focus was upon teaching school age children between the ages of 8 and 16. During the duration of the project we worked with about 120 children. We occasionally extended teaching to include groups of adults because many of the older teenage boys ‘hung out’ in groups of adults and did not want to leave those groups which they looked to for protection. We do not normally work with adults but in this scenario it was the most effective way to reach and engage the school age teenage boys
The composition of the groups we taught was very varied. There were a significant number of Kurdish children. There were also children from Afghanistan, Syria and from African nations.
We taught Maths and English, mainly in the medium of English. French members of our team tried to promote, teach and engage in French but this was not desired by the students.
Over the duration of the project, we estimate the value of donations, voluntary support and Educational Aid deployed to have been around £25,000.
The project ended as a result of two factors.
Camp reduction: a demolition of shelters at the northern end of the camp caused a considerable number of the pupils who we were teaching to leave the camp, so there was a sudden reduction in need for educational aid.
Increased provison: at the same time, other organisations were enlarging their child and educational resources at Calais. New resources were arriving, such as the School Bus Project. This meant that there was no longer an urgent need for our own presence in the jungle.
We therefore decided to withdraw and to focus our teacher resources at Studium Basroch in the Dunkirk camp, where there was a greater need and a large number of children.
For further information about other children related initiatives in the Calais camp see the regularly (As of August 2016)