Our Book of the Month for November is this title from the Arabic Club for Kids:
The Arabic Club for Kids is a bright, fun series of books for young learners of Arabic, designed to nurture confidence and motivation in reading.
They have been created by experienced Arabic teachers and authors and titles are grouped into colour bands for different reading abilities.
These books cover a wide range of stories and topics in both fiction and non-fiction and are brought to life by bright eye-catching photos and illustrations. They are designed for guided reading but can also be used for class story time or to read independently.
Oxford University Press have donated huge numbers of books in this series and copies have been sent to our partners working with displaced people in Greece, Lebanon and Jordan as well as our partners in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
For children uprooted from their homes through conflict and living in new, unfamiliar countries, reading books in their own language can provide a sanctuary and the opportunity to relax in otherwise stressful situations. Books for young readers like this will also enable children to develop their reading skills, ensuring their education continues in spite of being far from home.
Suha Tutunji is the Academic Director at Jusoor, an NGO of Syrian expats which works to support the country’s development and help Syrian youth reach their full potential. Suha and her team run a number of education projects including a refugee education programme in Lebanon to help out-of-school Syrian children continue learning and transition into the Lebanese school system.
Books you have helped to send are being used by Jusoor to support this programme. We talked to Suha to find out more.
Can you tell us a bit more about Jusoor’s work?
Jusoor believes that youth in Syria should have access to profoundly better opportunities. In particular, we hope for a nation that embraces democracy, respects human rights and the rule of law and encourages free speech and the exchange of ideas. Our work focusses on education to make this possible.
How does the refugee education programme in Lebanon fit into that?
Our refugee education programme seeks to ensure Syrian children in Lebanon have a well-rounded primary education. We focus on Lebanon as it hosts the largest number of Syrian refugee children in the region.
A huge gap in education exists for many Syrian children in Lebanon. In addition to an insufficient number of school places, children face large barriers to accessing education. The Lebanese curriculum is very different from the Syrian curriculum. From year one, classes are taught in French or English but few Syrian parents or children will know these languages.
So our programme provides non-formal education to out-of-school Syrian children to familiarise them with the Lebanese curriculum and learn enough English to enable them to successfully enrol in public schools in Lebanon.
How will the brand new books we have sent help with this work?
Book Aid International has donated children’s books and resource books to support our three education centres and we have also shared them with two other schools in Lebanon. The books will be a great aid.
They will be used by our teachers to aid them in teaching maths and English. They will also help in our anti-bullying campaign as one of the books is about how to tackle that issue. In addition, our teachers will also add to their knowledge by reading the resource books for ideas.
Our students will benefit from reading stories. Having access to these books in English will widen the children’s horizons and they will get a better chance of continuing their education in Lebanon and abroad.
As 2017 draws to a close, we are looking back over the last twelve months and forward to 2018. In this blog, our Chief Executive Alison Tweed reflects on the highlights from 2017 and gives us a preview of the year ahead.
This has been a year of change for our team at Book Aid International as we focused on putting our Vision 2020: Where Books Change Livesstrategy into action. Launched in March, our new strategy commits us to ensuring that the books we send reach those who face the greatest barriers to accessing books.
To begin making that vision a reality, we focused on establishing partnerships in new countries where people lack the books they need, as well as continuing to support all our more longstanding library and education partnerships.
The books we provided reached people in some of the most difficult to reach places in the world who are determined to keep reading in the face of instability and uncertainty about the future. We sent books to universities in Somalia, to transit camps in Greece, to schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and to the world’s youngest nation which continues to be gripped by conflict, South Sudan.
In 2017, we continued to expand the programme and today almost 89,000 pupils in Kenya, Cameroon and Malawi have books in their classrooms and trained teachers to help them discover how reading supports their learning.
Highlights of the year for me also included:
Helping reading and learning to flourish in Nairobi’s Mathare slum through our Book Havensproject
Giving secondary school pupils in Zambia new resources to study and succeed in their exams by creating Study Hubs
When I look back on 2017, more than anything I will remember the people who told us how the books we send are helping them to change their own lives.
I was particularly inspired by the words of 17 year old Lydia in Uganda who reminds us how determined people around the world are to read:
My dad always says ‘You shouldn’t go there, collecting books from there. Those books don’t help you.’ He doesn’t know how they help me. But my mum knows. She helps me go out to the library and get the books. I have already read all the fiction in the library – there are not enough now! We need more so we can keep learning. For me, I am going to be a writer, so I must keep reading!
Lydia is just one of the estimated 24 million people who read the books we provide in any one year. We could not reach a single one of those readers without the new books that are so generously donated by publishers, the funds we receive from individuals, trusts and companies and the hard work of our volunteers. We would like to extend a very warm thank you to all of our supporters for all that you do.
Looking forward to 2018
In 2017 we sent over 930,000 books to a wide range of new and established partners.
In 2018 we are aiming to send up to 1.2 million books and we are expanding our warehouse operations in Camberwell to help us do just that.
We will also continue to implement our Inspiring Readers,Book Havens and Study Hub projects and we are currently exploring the next steps for our work providing e-books alongside print books for children.
We are very much looking forward to a year of new partnerships and new opportunities to reach those who need books most and we hope that you will join us as we continue to work toward a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.