Kate McAllister, Crisis Classroom #30

No matter who you are, how old you are or where in the world you are, we believe with all our hearts that education isn’t a privilege but a fundamental human right.” Crisis Classrooms

There are 65 million people living in a country that's not their home!

In a world where it's difficult to know how to help or make a difference with such a sizeable problem, Kate and the team at Crisis Classrooms have created a simple, yet powerful way for everyone to help. 

In 2015, Kate McAllister felt her clothes' donations to displaced people might not be enough to help the wave of migrants moving through Europe. 

Inspired to do more, she connected with others working in Calais to find out how she could be useful. What she learnt was people had 'wasted time' whilst they waited in queues for food, clothes or papers.

Kate McAllister, Crisis Classroom

Reflecting on what she did for 15 years as a teacher, she realised she could apply those skills to talking and teaching people as they waited in these queues. But there wasn't anyone to send anything to, or anywhere to store anything and everything was living outdoors. So after a coffee, her and the co-innovator. Stephanie, came up with the idea of buying a double-decker bus and turning it in to an outdoor classroom. After a successful crowdfunding campaign they took this Calais. 

But this wasn't enough for Kate, she realised they needed teachers. Lots and lots of people to be with, talk to, practice language with, ask questions of and figure out the next step that they needed to take. So she moved to Calais and spent 6 months developing the Crisis Classroom methodology. 

Kate explains how fundamental education is to helping people regain control of their lives when they have lost everything, and how when they did their research the migrants she spoke to put it at the top of the list, as important as access to food and shelter.

“….More than just algebra and verbs, this is relearning life in another language. To ask for a loaf of bread, to make new friends, to talk to a doctor about your child. This is education that helps you take back control and regain a sense of self so that life can begin.” Crisis Classrooms.

The unique aspect to the Crisis Classrooms' methodology is teaching people to co-construct curriculum with 'students' in whatever setting they find themselves in. Making this an approach that people can use anywhere with anyone.  

But this is just the start of the story and in this podcast we talk more about:

  • The training programme Kate and Darren (the Co-Founder) have created, alongside the pop-up classroom which volunteers take to people around the world
  • Kate's vision for Crisis Classrooms, which includes you being able to connect with people in your own community by learning their unique methodology
  • The support Crisis Classroom's needs to achieve their vision
  • How you can help if you'd like to learn, facilitate or your company is looking for staff training opportunities
  • More stories about the projects that have worked and the impact Crisis Classrooms has created in the past 3 years
  • Loads more of Kate and Kat (me) talking about education and the importance of meeting people where they're at and building genuine human connections with one another. 


 Find out more about Crisis Classrooms here

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