I just came back from Paris, France where I was visiting my family. Having lived 8 years in the French capital, I was somewhat “prepared” to witness a lot of misery on the streets. I was not prepared however to get a glimpse at what a refugee camp looks like, right there in my neighborhood (Place Stalingrad). No words. I felt so helpless. I snapped a quick photo but could not take more, I was just too ashamed.
Rue de Flandre, Paris 19ème, October 2016.
The relatively peaceful shut down of the Calais “jungle” and the organized distribution of refugees throughout France gives me some hope that the French government is doing something right to help these people in need, despite strong opposition from some of my countrymen. For those of you who are not familiar with what the “jungle” is, it is basically a refugee camp in the forest around Calais, a small city in Northern France. Thousands of refugees have been living there waiting for an opportunity to cross over to England, either by hiding in trucks or by walking in the Eurotunnel. Read more here.
Calais is located in the region Hauts-de-France, right by the entrance of the Eurotunnel that crosses the English channel.
I believe we, French teachers, have a duty to continue to expose our students to this crisis. When we looked at this issue with my AP students last year, only one out of eight had even heard there was such thing as a migrant crisis!
I am attaching the lesson I did last year for Intermediate students and I just finished writing an article in Le Petit Journal Francophone for Novice students in comprehensible French. I have decided to make this article available for free in hope that teachers will use it to expose their Novice students to this major issue.
Click here to access the bundle. Consider this my microscopic contribution to World peace. Who knows, maybe one of our students will be instrumental in resolving this issue because he/she was moved by the situation in his/her French class.