Dunkirk refugee school inundated with offers of help

The Guardian is reporting that the school for refugees being run in the camps around Calais by former “superhead” Rory Fox – first publicised in the paper a few days ago – is to expand after being inundated with offers of help.

Four teachers are due to travel out imminently to do some voluntary teaching at the makeshift school, which teaches refugee children from countries including Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, in a rickety scout hut in the Grande-Synthe camp near Dunkirk.

Other teachers who are less immediately available have registered their willingness to help in the near future. Some are retired while others are offering to work at the weekend and during holidays. One woman is preparing to travel from her home in New York to work in the school.

Meanwhile, there have been offers of books, pens, paper and other teaching equipment, together with donations, “which is very welcome as our total budget balance stands at around £15”, said Fox. “We are not yet running weekend classes but hope to start soon,” he said. “We are creating a programme to enable teachers who are available during school holidays to come across and support us with intensive one-to-one work with the teenagers at those times.”

Natalie Scott, a secondary school English teacher who has been working alongside Fox in northern France, is organising a half-term training programme for volunteers looking at safety and resilience in the camp, as well as the practicalities of teaching in the school. The first session is being held at a London university.

“We need people who are available but are also resilient,” said Fox. “They need to come and see it for themselves. On paper it can sound like a good idea, but when they get out here and they are literally wading through mud, they might feel differently.”

 Fox is receiving offers of help via his website edlumino.org and email address contactus@edlumino.org

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I know we had some readers looking for ways to help after we covered the original story – sounds like an extremely worthwhile cause.

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