Homework club that's far from home
In a community centre in Battersea, South London, King’s student volunteers are helping children with their homework.
The students are part of KCL STAR (Student Action for Refugees), one of the most active societies at King’s, and the youngsters, ranging in age from five to 14, are from refugee backgrounds. Many of them have no one to help them with their schoolwork. Often their parents do not understand the school curriculum or the English education system, and are unable to speak, read or write enough English to be ahead of their children in their learning.
Twice a week, KCL STAR volunteers help at the homework club, supporting the children with their English and school work, as well as with arts and crafts, sports, cooking and fun activities. The sessions provide the children with invaluable opportunities to increase their social confidence, as they mix with a different range of people and are exposed to new experiences.
Alongside this, KCL STAR volunteers run an outreach programme at a London school to help recently arrived students with their GCSE and A-level qualifications, as well as hold collections and run events to campaign for the welfare of refugees living abroad, and the rights of asylum seekers in the UK.
For the KCL STAR volunteers, responding to the global refugee crisis through serving their local communities goes to the heart of what it means to study at King’s. They are bringing to life a founding ethos of King’s, which is that of service to others; to use and disseminate knowledge to help change lives and make the world a better place.
Aside from KCL STAR, King’s students are helping refugees to make London their home through a variety of learning initiatives. For example, the Learning Station Project, set up by Lola Siran and Emma Yagour, who are both studying English Law and French Law at King’s, offers English and French classes to asylum seekers and refugees in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Students come mainly from Sudan, Syria and Eritrea. In the first six months, attendance has risen to 50 students who regularly attend the Monday lessons and word-of-mouth has allowed more students to discover the classes. Students are split into different groups, depending on their level of English and each group is taught by a King’s volunteer. Visits to exciting London attractions and football matches are also organised periodically.
Find out more about King's response to the refugee crisis, The Sanctuary Programme.