Onjali Rauf and Sita Brahmachari volunteer with Book Aid

News - International Thursday, 09 May 2019

Over 800 books stamped by the authors are being sent to Sudanese refugee children in Uganda

Onjali Rauf, award-winning author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, Sita Brahmachari, author of Where The River Runs Gold and Farrah Serroukh, CLPE's regional learning programmes leader, this week stamped over 840 brand new children's books at Book Aid International's warehouse, getting them ready to send to safe spaces for children in two of the world's largest refugee settlements: Bidi Bidi and Adjumani in Uganda.

The authors will be appearing at Hay Festival on 28 May alongside Book Aid International's head of communications, Emma Taylor, discussing the refugee crisis, how displaced people's realities are presented in books and how children, young people and adults can make a difference for refugees across the world. The books stamped are children's Arabic readers which will soon be enjoyed by children in eight child-friendly spaces and 24 surrounding primary schools; over 60% of the settlements' populations have fled civil war in South Sudan.

Rauf said: "Besides the essential items, one of the most oft-sought gifts requested by children in the refugee camps I have worked in is books and school equipment. Without the stability of school and the companionship of long-term friends, it is in books they find solace, hope and an escape. I am honoured to be a part of Book Aid International's efforts to place books that will be loved and treasured into the hands of children seeking refuge and who may, for now, only find it in the pages of a story."

Brahmachari said: "Through stories children who experience the trauma of displacement can find refuge; a place to dream and imagine brighter days. Access to books for all children and the power of stories to sustain spirits through inhospitable times is a central theme in Where The River Runs Gold. It's with great joy that I can be a tiny part of helping to get books into these children's hands."

Serroukh said: "At the CLPE, promoting the use of quality literature in the classroom is central to our work. We know that investment in literacy and nurturing children as readers results in enhanced wellbeing, better academic outcomes and improved life chances. The work of Book Aid International in providing access to books for people of all ages is therefore essential and has the real power to be life changing."

Every year, Book Aid International sends around 1 million brand new, publisher-donated books to people around the world. They are read by people from all walks of life in more than 3,400 libraries, schools, universities, hospitals and refugee camps.

Taylor said: "Every minute of every day, 20 more people are displaced and they all need books. Onjali, Sita and Farrah's volunteer work today will help us reach more refugees around the world – and through our event at Hay we can encourage more people to act now and help provide the books that people forced to flee their homes need. We are hugely grateful for their support."

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