‘You have two minutes to pack your bag’ Gordonstoun students taste refugee life to raise money for Ukraine

23 March 2022

Students at Gordonstoun had taste of life as a refugee in order to raise money for the victims of the conflict in Ukraine. They were told they had just two minutes to pack a small bag for a long journey before setting out on a sponsored walk.

Organiser and Gordonstoun teacher Dill Lawson Johnston said,

“When they were given two minutes to pack a bag as if they were going on a long journey, most of the students were very practical and remembered to pack a passport, mobile phone chargers, food and water. Some took a favourite teddy, and one student even packed his pillow. It was a thought-provoking exercise to consider what you would take if you had just a couple of minutes to prepare to leave your home. There are thousands of young people in Ukraine who have faced exactly that scenario, and still face it.”

More than 100 students then set off on a 5km walk. Some of the students had friends and relatives who are still in Ukraine or who have escaped the country. They have raised more than £800 for Save the Children. It brings the total raised by Gordonstoun students to more than £1000 with donations still rolling in.

Gordonstoun students after their sponsored walk

Seventeen-year-old Gordonstoun student Jennifer Mobbs said,

“When we were told we had just two minutes to pack a bag I slightly panicked and had to rush my thoughts to grab as many things as I could. I chose items I believed were most important to me personally. I packed my favourite pictures, my medicine, my teddy, snacks and some toiletries.

“I felt that taking part in the sponsored walk was the least I could do, raising money for children younger than me, scared and afraid about what is going on around them. Raising money to help these children makes me happy. I’ve supported them in the best way I can.”

Gordonstoun Principal Lisa Kerr said,

“Gordonstoun was established in Scotland by a Jew who fled Nazi Germany in fear for his life. Our founder, Kurt Hahn, wanted to create a school in Scotland where children from all nationalities could live and learn alongside each other, with the aim of creating a more tolerant and understanding world.

“As an international community of more than 40 nationalities, our students have already had the people of Ukraine very much in their thoughts and many of them know someone who is affected by this terrible conflict. This exercise was a useful reminder of the realities of life as a refugee and is one of several fundraising initiatives by the students.”

Click Here to view a video compiled by our students

For further information please contact: Eleanor Bradford

  • Email: bradforde@gordonstoun.org.uk
  • Tel: 01343 837763
  • Mobile: 07860 557682


Gordonstoun is a not-for-profit independent boarding school which was established in Moray, Scotland in 1934 by Dr Kurt Hahn, a Jewish exile who fled Nazi Germany. He founded the school with the ideal of developing better world citizens equipped to contribute to society. Dr Kurt Hahn was the driving force behind the Outward Bound Movement and also worked with former pupil Prince Philip to establish The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. Gordonstoun has been a pioneer of character education which, as well as academic subjects, includes outdoor activities, sailing and service to the community. Three generations of British Royalty were educated at Gordonstoun including the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles. Approximately one third of the pupils at the co-educational boarding school receive financial help in order to attend. The school was described as ‘outstanding’ and ‘sector-leading’ in its most recent inspection and was voted the best boarding school in the UK in 2021.