Spotlight on Crisis Classroom

This years’  Young City Reads title ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ by Onjali Q. Rauf follows the story of a young Syrian refugee Ahmet. This beautiful tale of empathy and compassion, introduces us to a small group of determined nine-year-olds, who go above and beyond to make sure their new classmate has a sense of belonging.

This got us thinking. What are we doing in Brighton & Hove to ease the plight of the refugees? Who is ensuring that some of the most vulnerable people in society, feel welcome and safe in our lovely city?

Well, as it turns out there are some INCREDIBLE projects doing exactly that. And this year, we are delighted to be working in partnership with the  inspirational Brighton based non profit, Crisis Classroom.       


On World Book Day this year co-founder of Crisis Classroom, Kate McAllister delivered a fantastic workshop for pupils in East Brighton (from City Academy Whitehawk and St John’s Primary). The children were introduced to some of the themes in The Boy at The Back of the Class and offered their ideas of what it meant to be a refugee. They talked about all the things they would miss from home and discussed which of their favourite foods they would miss the most. They then got into groups and made little spice bags for refugees in Greece, adding their own notes of friendship. These spice bags will be taken to Greece and handed out. We are very much hoping Crisis Classroom volunteers in Greece will be able to send some pictures of the bags arriving we can share with the children.


Crisis Classroom was founded upon the belief that education is a human right, not a privilege. As a direct response to the global migrant crisis, founders Kate McAllister and Darren Abrahams spent a year in the Calais Jungle. They developed a programme that equips volunteers with the critical skills required to become the best ‘educators’ they can be, before they work with refugee learners.

Alongside training programmes, Crisis Classroom work directly with refugees, asylum seekers and the homeless in the UK, hosting exciting workshops that not only provide a safe environment, but help build communities and friendships through creativity. Of course, this is what we LOVE most at Young City Reads! We know that sharing experiences and being creative together builds confidence and empathy.

To sign up for there volunteer training programmes or to find out more about their existing projects visit :

And don’t forget to follow them on social media:


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