Learning in the Calais Jungle
L'école laïque du chemin des Dunes, a school in the middle of a migrant camp in Calais -aka the Calais Jungle, was founded in July by Zimarco Jones, a refugee who fled Nigeria in December 2010. Jones explained to The Guardian that the school is open to everyone and hopes it will bring a sense of community and unite the 'Jungle'. You can watch him in the short video below:
I was also reading this piece: A Calais, dans l'école de la jungle, on France Culture's website, listening to the testimonies from volunteer teachers. One of them, Sandrine, said something interesting related to translation. When asked about how she manages her classes, Sandrine explained that she only teaches in French and that she gets help from the students to translate for those who cannot follow the class, most of them being fluent in English and French. The school is an important example of how education happens in translation as there are also classes taught in English and in other languages to people from many different languages and backgrounds.
I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for all these people, children and adults, living in dreadful conditions, waiting in the hope of a better future, and still managing to find the motivation to go to school, to still learn. And it is even more extraordinary that they are able to follow classes in a language that is not only not their own, but also the language of a country that is not welcoming to them.
We see once again how powerful translation can be, especially in situations of crisis (also see my post about the Refugee Phrasebook), to create the possibility of engagement and dialogue between people.