accessibility & help

About The Pillowcase Project

It is estimated that natural disasters have affected approximately 250 million people worldwide every year in the last decade. More than half of those affected have been children (IFRC 2010).


The Pillowcase Project is an emergency preparedness education programme, initiated by the American Red Cross and funded by The Walt Disney Company it is now happening in six other countries including the UK.


The project helps children aged 7–11 develop understanding, and the skills to cope with and respond to any weather-related emergency they may face. As part of the programme, children decorate an emergency ‘grab bag’ pillowcase with the items they would want to have with them in an emergency and take this home with them to share their learning with their family. This project has strong curriculum links; and many of the skills children learn as part of this project can be transferred to other areas of their learning and their lives; including skills such as: communication, coping and listening, problem solving and creative and critical thinking.


We experienced an overwhelming response from schools interested in the 2017 Pillowcase project and we have reached our quota of schools able to receive the pillowcases and fabric pens in the post. The resource toolkit is designed to be flexible, so you can still run the project with your class using our free online teaching resources and either ask your class to bring a pillowcase from home or you can use one of the alternative activities in the share module of the Pillowcase Project toolkit.


The Pillowcase Project is a great way to get children thinking about what they would do if they were affected by severe weather, so they can be prepared for its potential impacts."
Derrick Ryall, Head of Public Weather Service at the Met Office

Learning objectives:

Through the project pupils will:


  • Learn about the types of weather-related emergencies they might face in the UK.
  • Learn how to prepare for an emergency.
  • Practice how to safely respond to and cope in an emergency.
  • Share what they have learnt with their friends and family to increase community resilience.


Resources are closely linked with the Geography, Science, PSHE/PSE and Literacy curricula.


Caption: To learn more about the project, watch our video below – simply enter the password “pillowcase” and select “Watch Video”


Related