During the Easter holidays I spent two days visiting a refugee camp in Dunkirk, France. One of the first things that struck me was the high percentage of Iraqi Kurds who were living there. My main purpose was to visit a school that had been set up to provide some education to the refugee children by Rory Fox an experienced head teacher from England.
I was extremely impressed, by the amount of effort that Rory Fox and his colleague Ginny Parry had put into the project. Both are very successful educators from England but they had decided to take a gap year to help refugee children around the world! I had the pleasure and the honour to work with them for two days which was the most that I could manage given my work and family commitments at home.
As a Kurd myself walking round the camp, talking to many people and visiting families I had mixed feelings about their intentions, their final goals and why they were there. I arranged a small meeting with the people of the camp to encourage them to take advantage of the school and to send their kids every day and also to encourage those educated parents to help out in the school. Also I asked if some of the adults to guard the school at night as it is only a tent and had no padlock!
It was both a learning curve, a heart breaking experience and yet uplifting seeing Rory and Ginny doing such an incredible job there. They gave me more courage in life and the hope that there are more truly educational human beings out there who are ready to sacrifice their comfortable living conditions to go and spend time in that camp. To share the daily suffering with those vulnerable people just to offer them moral support and hope. May God Bless you too!
I certainly hope I will be able to support them in the long term and I hope this will encourage more young graduates to go and work there especially those with some knowledge of the Kurdish or Arabic language.
Freshta is an Educational Consultant and Kurdish speaker. She is founder of http://www.bisk-es.com and has 30 years of teaching experience working in British secondary schools. Building on this foundation of leadership success she was the founder and executive principal for over three years for three private international schools in Kurdistan, Iraq.