Equator's digital classroom

Steven and Lindsay from Equator's innovation team are travelling to Dunkirk refugee camp to help bring educational support to child refugees living there.

This weekend Steven and Lindsey from our innovation team will be starting their journey to the Dunkirk refugee camp in Northern France, to help bring educational support to the children living there.

If you’ve been keeping an eye out on social, you’ll know all about Equator’s Digital Classroom initiative. If you’re not a social butterfly - don’t worry, you can bring yourself up to speed here.

The classroom consists of a wireless projector, 20 student tablets and a teaching pad, plus a range of educational apps aimed at children aged three to 18 - all of this is transported in a box which also acts as a charging station.

The electricity at the camp was described as patchy, so the team devised the classroom in such a way that it would not depend on power while it was in use. Everything is wireless and can be taken away by the teacher to be charged overnight.

So how did a Glasgow-based ideas agency become so involved in a refugee camp in Northern France?

That would be through our very own Lindsey Carr.

Through her volunteer work with refugees, Lindsey learned about the ‘La Linière’ camp in Grande-Synthe, on the outskirts of Dunkirk, which is home to around 1,500 refugees. Amongst them are roughly 150 children who attend the volunteer-run Children’s Centre.

The centre exists to try to bring an education to these children, some of whom have never received any form of structured teaching as a result of the disruption in their lives. As well as significant language barriers, the limited resources available make this a difficult task.

Lindsey felt that as part of a company like Equator, with the innovation team and its access to technology, she and the team were capable of doing something that would really make a difference.

She said: “These children have been forced to leave their homes through no fault of their own, many of them have lost or been separated from their families. We wanted to use our skill set and experience to find an innovative yet practical way to help these children beyond just donating money.

“I wanted us to find a way to deliver educational support in a way which recognises the unstructured and often disruptive lives the children are living.”

Instead of gifting presents to clients this Christmas, Equator donated its time and money to creating this Digital Classroom, which will help deliver lessons in English, maths and French to children of varying age and ability.

And now it’s ready to go.

Along with the Digital Classroom, Steven and Lindsey will be driving a van stuffed full of donated clothes and footwear from Glasgow to Dunkirk.

The team will then help set-up the equipment and spend a few days volunteering at the centre, showing the teachers there how best to operate the equipment in a way that can deliver an education that bypasses language barriers.

Our chief creative officer, James Jefferson, was a driving force behind the project. He said: “We are really excited about this program which will ensure that every child in the camp will get access to education, creating the possibility to change all their lives for the better.

“We are also hopeful the Dunkirk classroom might be the pilot for an initiative that could be rolled out across other camps to prevent displaced children being starved of education.”

So that brings us back to bidding Steven and Lindsey adieu and good luck on their journey to providing a better future for the young refugees at the Dunkirk centre.

All caught up? Good. Watch this space.