Everyday, Burners Without Borders transforms communities through innovative disaster relief programs and community initiatives that make a lasting impact. 



Burners helping Refugees

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By the end of 2014 the UN estimated that some 6.4 million Syrians had been displaced.  In 2015 over 1 million refugees and migrants had traveled across borders to enter Europe from across Africa & the Middle East.  These are just snapshots of the larger issue that’s happening at the moment.

While the issue might be large and spread out- so is our Burning Man Community.  Burners are working on prototyping solutions in various places around the globe, and as we find out more about each project we’ll be hosting the information of how to get involved here.

Koulu on Fire
A few words of a project what the Finnish Burners are working on now called: ‘Koulu on Fire’ – ‘Koulu’ meaning school in Finnish.


The intention is to organize teaching with minimum amount of material resources. The core of the concept is it’s teacher training method that gives a toolkit for anyone to structure and give a good lesson on just about any topic.

The first ‘Koulu’ festival was held in 2012 in Helsinki at an old mental asylum. This year we brought the concept to the Burning Man Piazza that was a great experience and we received really good feedback.

The next phase of the project is to test the concept in low-infrastructure settlements, such as refugee camps, reception centres and slums – places where access education is traditionally scarce.

We are interested to see if this could be a way to use all the existing knowledge of the people who occupy these settlements to share it among each other to educate the people, give them a sense of community and hopefully allow them to understand their personal value in those places where they may be stuck for years.

Calais- “The Jungle”:


Calais, France is only about 20 miles from Kent, England which means that when migrants and refugees are trying to reach England, Calais is usually the place where they stop.  Because of recent security and infrastructural changes its been increasingly harder for the people to be able to actually make it into England– and the size and infrastructure of the Jungle has been increasing because of this.

Kit Johnson is our Burner on the ground in Calais, and he’s working with:  L’Auberge (Help Refugees)
If you are interested in volunteering in Calais reach out to L’Auberge, and if you’d like to get in contact with Kit please email or Facebook message us at BWB.

Other Volunteer opprotunies in Calais:
– Good Chance Theater
– Baloos Youth Center

Read the BWB Research Mission Report here:  http://journal.burningman.org/2016/03/global-network/burners-without-borders/the-jungle-a-refugee-camp-served-by-the-burners-of-calais/

Berlin – “Refugee Playground”:

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Richard Garcia is spearheading a Refugee Playground Project in Berlin- focused on creating a creative playspace for both migrant children and local german children alike.

Why a playground?
Today, over thirty million kids around the world are displaced from their homes and families due to war, conflict, persecution, occupation, natural disaster, deportation, child trafficking, slavery, military enlistment and food shortages. Not since World War II have there been so many kids displaced around the world, the majority of which are under the age of twelve.

Those kids remain scared, deprived and even depressed because their basic needs continue to go unmet. But if we do not meet all their needs, especially when it comes to trauma, the negative impacts and the costs to those kids, their families and the communities they call home will go on for many years to come.

Check out their website:   http://refugeplayground.com    and their crowdsource campaign:  https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/let-s-create-a-refugee-playground


Idomeni, Greece:

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Burner and Awesome Human Ayesha Sayed has been volunteering her time in Idomeni when she has the time.  Read the article written on her from Unworthy here:  http://www.upworthy.com/she-thought-shed-seen-the-worst-of-the-refugee-camps-then-she-went-to-idomeni?c=ufb1

Right now Ayesha is looking for a Techie volunteer to assist with a storytelling project:
“We’re looking for someone who is interested in working on a storytelling project in Idomeni Refugee Camp in Greece, which is home to 12000+ humans. The project involves equipping 5 children (aged 10-15) with basic smart phones that will allow them to take pictures + create posts around their everyday lives in the camp, thus giving them a voice and a chance to tell their stories themselves. We want to quickly hack together a platform that allows for this to happen, a portal or social media outlet or some other tech that we don’t know of yet! Phones will use 3G data so has to be something that is light and quick!”

Refugee Kitchen Community (RKC):


REFUGEE COMMUNITY KITCHEN are looking for volunteers
kitchen staff, cooks and chefs  refugeecommunitykitchen@gmail.com
general volunteering in all the kitchens calaiskitchens@gmail.com

RCK was created in the autumn of 2015 to help the refugees living in the camps of Europe by Steve Bedlam (Events), Sam Jones (Chef), Paula Gallardo (Doula), Bobbie Greenish (Teacher) and Janie Mac (Activist and Lecturer).

Having seen tens of thousands of people forced to leave their homes and living in awful conditions in northern France,  the group came together to offer assistance in the form of nourishing meals and access to fresh food daily.

They pulled together their skills and those of resourceful friends, and anyone else drawn to help, and set up Refugee Community Kitchen to serve the camps at Calais and Dunkirk.

They now intend to create similar much-needed facilities in the other camps across Europe.

Their aim is to feed where food is needed, to build where they can build and to give their support to the volunteers on the ground. They provide hot nourishing food on a daily basis to over 3000 men, women and children.

BWB MRU (Mobile Resource Unit):


Burners Without Borders in a major collaboration (The Gate, ReAllocate, Art Crawler) prototyped a 20ft. Container meant to be a fully functional Maker Space that can be activated into a Refugee Community or Refugee Camp.  We are working on finishing up our case study and will be publishing it soon.  Until then you can contact bwb@burningman.org


> How to create a Project.