Several months ago the mayor of Grande Synthe made the decision to move the illegal refugee camp from Basroch to a new location at Grande Synthe called La Liniere. The new camp was built to UN standards and opened as the first official refugee camp in Europe. The costs for the new camp were 3.1 million Euros with Medecin Sans Frontier contributing 2.6 million Euros and the local town council paying the rest of the costs. The organisation and running of the camp was given to a voluntary organisation, Utopia56, to arrange. Initially there was no budget for the camp, and necessary expenses were being picked up at the local level.
This week we have heard that the national French government has agreed to now pick up the running costs of the camp. We do not know precisely what this means but we understand that it may mean the provision of state teachers, although we do not know when this could commence, or indeed how many hours of tuition per week it might involve. At the moment we try to ensure at least 6 hours per day with a minimum of 3 teachers, so 90 hours per week of tuition time. We are already working with a number of French teachers who come in to provide voluntary teaching. During the last week we have had 4 French teachers in working with us.
We are excited to hear that the state could be going to take on the provision of education to the refugee children, as it would enable us to look at extending to support refugees in other locations where state provision is not available. Unfortunately we do not yet have any indications of when this could commence, so we are continuing as we have been previously.