After spending the morning with a team collecting litter from around the camp, visiting ‘Marco’s school, was a welcome contrast.
Teacher friends back home had stressed that we must visit the school; we now understand why.
Marco, a Kurdish man from England with an enormous heart, has established this haven, providing warmth, stability and learning for hundreds of camp children and adults on a daily basis. He explains in the video clip below how and why he achieved this.
The school has several learning areas. The children’s classroom contains more colour and vibrancy than any I’ve seen before. When we arrived we could hear the laughter and fun emanating from its flimsy walls. At the end of the day the kids walked home to their shelters in convoy with Marco and volunteers clutching little gifts.
Marco is providing a public service via his personal initiative and compassion. He is delivering a routine beam of sunlight into an otherwise chaotic and unstable environment.
Messages in hearts from English school children hang from the beams.
These instincts from English schoolchildren remind us that no child is born racist.
Donated resources keep the wheels and the wellbeing going. Marco even sourced a donation of solar panels to help with the energy needs of running the school. Volunteers, many current or ex teachers, provide the tuition. Meals are shared from a communal kitchen.
Marco pays tribute to the donors and volunteers, making special reference to NUT members, Sally Kincaid from Wakefield, and Sara Tomlinson from Lambeth, whose efforts to raise funds and materials and deliver them in his hour of need have clearly touched him dearly.
We converse with three young men from war torn Sudan who are studying the available resources in English. They’re eager to learn and to help each other. I make the mistake of asking them about themselves as part of the conversational practice; I find it traumatic to even listen to the horror of what these amiable men have had to endure.