School Bus Project, Calais

INTO Giving has donated £2,000, raised by our generous supporters, to The School Bus Project. Based in Brighton, The School Bus Project is a grass roots organisation providing education to displaced people and the communities who host them. Currently the organisation is focusing on a Calais refugee camp known as 'The Jungle'

'The Jungle' in numbers (February 2016 Census)

  • There are over 5,000 displaced people living in 'temporary accommodation' in The Jungle. Many of them are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea
  • 651 of these are children, of which 423 are unaccompanied
  • These numbers do not include government run facilities, including Jules Ferry (for women and children) and shipping containers which hold 1500 more refugees
  • Read more about the plight of those living in camp here 

The School Bus Project believes, you don’t have to go to school to get an can come to you!

They want to help refugees maintain their dignity, and one way they can do this is by helping them to continue their education. Currently focused on the refugee camps in Northern France, School Bus Project are training teachers to provide enjoyable educational experiences based on skills and language acquisition, right where people need it most. 

The School Bus Project hope to convert old buses into mobile schools which will have the resources needed to teach, and provide a hub within the community for those wanting to learn and meet new people.

After months of fundraising, painting and carpentry, the double decker bus is making its maiden voyage to Calais in August 2016. They now have over 40 trained teachers ready to teach, many of whom have already been running sessions in camp over the past few months. With help from the INTO Giving funding they will be developing a set of downloadable educational resources for teachers and refugees and running regular training sessions every month, so as to send more teachers to Calais and further afield. If you have teaching or facilitation experience and would like to get involved, School Bus Project would love to hear from you. Ultimately, the INTO Giving funding will enable SBP to train more teachers to offer quality learning in The Jungle. They also look forward to welcoming volunteers from INTO University Partnerships, both in Brighton and Calais. 

The teachers have access to a range of quality resources that are easy to carry on their person. The converted double decker bus serves as a mobile school, that not only gets them from place to place, but has also been converted to provide additional technical support and infrastructure.  

'Not only is education an enabling right, recent research demonstrates it is a priority for refugees themselves, who see it as a driver for change that they own. We therefore believe in education as partnership. All our lessons are co-constructed by all participants, and we find that we learn as much from our students as they do from us. At a time when people are being thrown together by circumstance, the more we can learn from and understand one another, the stronger we will be.' Darren Abrahams, Founding Member, School Bus Project.