It started with an email…
Mid-morning on Tuesday 8th February, we received an email from some of the Year 5 and 6 pupils at the Fulbridge Academy.
The email explained how they had been learning about the refugee crisis in Calais, and how they wanted to help out in some way. They had heard that the refugees really needed resources; not just clothes and money, but things like tents for shelter.
This morning, everyone in Year 5 and 6 had a debate. Firstly, we discussed the crisis with the refugees and tried to imagine how hard their lives are at the minute. We talked about the war-torn countries they are escaping and the journey they have taken to escape war. Our teachers told us about how lots of people are dying on the journeys, and asked us if we had seen all of the awful pictures in the news recently. Some of us didn’t really know about it, so we were shocked.
Every other year, the school organise a camping trip to Edale in the Peak District. They have a number of school tents, including tents that sleep up to twelve people. After learning about the conditions many refugees are sleeping in, the pupils quickly realised that they had a decision to make.
Our teachers asked if we think we should keep the tents for ourselves or if we think that the refugees in Calais need them more than we do. Everyone got the chance to vote. We either had to vote ‘I want to keep the tents for our school trips’, or ‘I think we should donate them to help the refugees’. Our teachers then counted up the votes and told us that everyone voted to donate the tents.
And that’s where we came in. Whilst they had voted to donate tents, they had no way of getting them to a charity who would take them to Calais. Naturally, we were more than happy to help out.
So that was the start of our journey. We jumped in a car, and nipped down the A1 to meet the amazing children who had decided to selflessly donate their school tents to those in need rather than keep them for themselves.
After meeting some of the staff and pupils, we asked Mr Dunn and two Year Six pupils to briefly explain why they were donating the tents and how they decided to do so. We then enlisted their help in sorting out the tents. We wanted to make sure that every tent had all of the poles needed and enough pegs and guide ropes to be useful.
We headed out to the playground and started sorting through the tents. Our helpers from the Fulbridge Academy were incredible; it was clear that they were genuinely passionate about the cause, and wanted to be involved in the entire process.
We loaded the tents into the car, and set off on a drive to an organisation called The Green Backyard. They had organised a drop-off point for donations and were accepting clothes, tents, toys – anything that could be of use to the refugees.
We were greeted by Rich Hill from The Green Back Yard, who was incredibly grateful to the pupils at the Fulbridge Academy who voted to donate the tents. He showed us around their facilities, including an incredible marquee which had hundreds of donations, ready to be taken to Calais.