Modern Foreign Languages teacher Gabriella Angevi is giving her Brixham College students an insight into what life is like for children in the ‘Calais Jungle’ after volunteering in its makeshift school.
“I felt I needed to do something positive to help the plight of migrant refugees living in the Calais jungle,” says Gabriella who used her teaching experience and language skills to improve the lives of those desperate to learn.
Gabriella spent a week over the summer holidays at Ecole Laique du Chemin des Dunes where she taught French to Sudanese and Afghan refugees every morning before donning her high vis. vest, collecting children from their caravans and taking them to school for an afternoon of French lessons and fun workshops.
The school, which was built by Nigerian migrant Zimako Jones, employs a primary school teacher during the term but relies on volunteers during the holidays to continue the routine and structure of a school day.
Its aim is to provide a place where people can feel safe, learn, talk to other refugees, ask advice and have documents translated.
It mainly provides French and English classes to adults as well as formal schooling for children aged 2 -11, Monday to Saturday.
“I appreciate everything a lot more now. These people queue for hours to get a plate of food and they don’t have a clue what their future holds.
All the things we take for granted are an absolute luxury for them,” says Gabriella who helped to distribute the clothes and essentials which Brixham College’s staff and students had donated, during her week-long stay.
Amongst them was soap, toothpaste, baby clothes, nappies, books, pens, pencils, dolls and shoes. Her plan is to take much needed grammar and text books with her on her next trip. “Everyone was really respectful, so eager to learn and so thankful for help.
It was a real eye opener for me, an experience which I’m sharing with my students to help combat the myths surrounding the camp,” she adds.
Brixham College plans to incorporate Gabriella’s personal experiences in its programme of Flexible Learning Days which are designed to encourage students to identify, address and challenge prejudice and discrimination in the world today.Follow