The summer holidays are in full swing, and if you’re looking for a way to keep your kids entertained and teach them about refugees and people forced to flee, we have the perfect fundraising challenge for you.
The best bit — taking part is simple. All we’re asking students to do is get sponsored to read as much as possible this summer and help raise vital funds for refugees.
Children could ask for sponsors to agree to donate based on number of pages, chapters or books read, or just make a flat donation to encourage participating readers.
As for what to read? The choice is yours! There’s no need to buy new books, hit the library or grab any unread books lying around the house.
As educators, parents, and caregivers, we can all do our part to teach children about the refugee crisis. Sharing refugee stories and encouraging young people to read books about what it is like to flee your home is a great place to start.
To help you get started, here are four of our team’s favourite books written by refugee authors.
When Stars are Scattered by Omar Mohamed and Victoria Jameson
Reading age: 8 – 12 years
This remarkable graphic novel tells the story of Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, Somali refugees who have spent most of their lives in a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there. But when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future. Heartbreak, hope and humour exist together in this story. It’s an intimate and unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.
Recommended by Michael
No Place to Call Home by J.J. Bola
Reading age: 8+ years
A tale of love, loss, identity and belonging, No Place to Call Home tells the story of a family who, having fled political violence in their home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, journey to the UK. Despite finding safety, adjusting to their new life is hard, especially for the youngest son Jean, who starts at a new school and struggles to fit in – until an unlikely friendship gets him into a string of sticky situations. This story echoes J.J. Bola’s owns experience, coming to London as a young child from Kinshasa.
Recommended by Shazia
We are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai
Reading age: 10+ years
In this powerful bestseller, Nobel Peace Prize winner and activist Malala Yousafzai shares various stories of displacement, including her own. Part memoir, part communal storytelling, We Are Displaced gives voice to some of the incredible girls Malala has met on her journey and lets each tell her story – girls who have lost their homes, communities and relatives, but have not lost hope. In a time of rising displacement, this book is an important reminder that all displaced people hope for a better, safer world.
Recommended by Emma
The Lightless Sky by Gulwali Passarlay
Reading age: 10+ years
Both heartbreaking and enlightening, this powerful memoir celebrates the triumph of courage over adversity. The Lightless Sky tells Gulwali Passarlay’s own story, fleeing violence in his home country, Afghanistan at the age of 12, and his terrifying journey across Europe at the hands of people smugglers. In this emotional tale of human survival, Passarlay’s personal journey mirrors those of refugees around the world, who are forced to undertake treacherous journeys to find safety. An important read for adults and children alike.
Recommended by Avena
As well as raising vital funds for displaced families, we’re hoping that encouraging children to read more about refugees and their stories empowers them to be independent, confident and compassionate to others.
So for all the busy parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters or anyone managing childcare this summer, grab a book and get your young people reading for refugees.
With every page they read and every pound they raise, you’ll be helping families forced to flee.
Do you have an alternative way to fundraise for refugees? We’d love to hear from you! Visit our website today to receive a fundraising pack.
To read about inspiring young people advocating for refugees, please read our feature on the youth collective Forced to Flee.