A Mitcham teacher who spent a week teaching in the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais this summer has said the experience was "a real testament to the human spirit".

English teacher at St Mark’s Academy, Sam Foster, travelled to the camp in August to work alongside the Refugee Youth Service in one of the many schools that have been set up in the camp.

Speaking after his return, Mr Foster said: “They were so amazing to teach. They were so thirsty for the English language.

Wimbledon Times:

A lesson timetable in the Jungle. Picture: Sam Foster

“It’s impossible when you’re speaking to people there to imagine what it’s like and the terrible things they have seen. For a lot of them, the Jungle is the safest place they have been for a few years.

“When you speak to the students, they are so positive. It’s amazing, considering the things they are up against. It was a real eye opener. It was a real testament to the human spirit.”

A total of four teachers from St Mark’s Academy, as well as fifth teacher from Harris Academy Merton, made the journey to the camp in Calais – estimated to be the home of around 10,000 refugees – on August 15.

July 20: Mitcham teachers travel to Calais to teach child refugees in 'Jungle' camp

Mr Foster said the pupils at St Mark’s Academy are learning about the refugee crisis and had an “incredibly positive” reaction to his trip, and he has hopes that teachers from Mitcham will become a regular fixture in the camp during school holidays.

Mr Foster added: “It’s amazing to see what the human spirit is capable of, against all that adversity. It was quite humbling, but it left you feeling very frustrated because if the right people in the government made the right decisions and came and met these people, they would realise so quickly that they could be a real asset to this country.

“You know all the people you’ve met would do brilliantly if they were just given the opportunity.”

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