Darfur Refugees Celebrate Arrival of English Books

Darfur Refugees Celebrate Arrival of English Books

BREDJING REFUGEE CAMP, Eastern Chad, June 26 — Darfur refugees in Bredjing Refugee Camp, eastern Chad celebrate the arrival of books from the Headway English course, donated by the U.S. nonprofit Book Wish Foundation (www.bookwish.org). Despite serious security incidents in the area, which had paralyzed transportation, Book Wish’s partners on the ground, U.K. nonprofit CORD (www.cord.org.uk), safely delivered the 269 books to the grateful Darfuris, who place so much hope in learning English.

The donation was funded by individual contributions, largely from the English as a Second Language (ESL) community, through Book Wish’s website www.bookwish.org. Publishers Oxford University Press (www.oup.com) supplied teachers’ books from the popular course for free and students’ books at cost. Freight to Chad’s capital N’Djamena was donated by Air France (www.airfrance.com).

Education Program Manager Anne Goddard of CORD described the scene that unfolded when the books arrived:

“I am sorry that you could not have been here to see how much fun we had this morning playing with new books. I briefly had to return to our base and as I left, everyone was perusing the books and trying to get one small step further ahead with their language studies. Even my driver shyly opened a book that he had been reading and asked me what a particular sentence meant.”

Prior to the arrival of the Headway books, the refugees had been using whatever English books they could find, often decades old and in very short supply. Nevertheless, they were determined to succeed, and, in Bredjing Camp alone, about 400 met six nights a week to study. Sometimes, to help pay the teachers, they would offer commodities like bars of soap.

“Their determination is born from the belief that learning English is a ‘road to freedom’,” said Book Wish Foundation President Logan Kleinwaks. “It is hoped that some will be able to leave the camps and attend college in southern Sudan, where English is the language of classes and a pre-requisite for admission,” he added.

Book Wish Foundation hopes to send additional shipments of Headway books. Kleinwaks stated that less than $4,000 remains to be raised to meet the Foundation’s goal, and noted that “with discounts from the publisher, every dollar donated can purchase nearly seven dollars of books.”

The Headway shipment is part of Book Wish Foundation’s larger mission in the Bredjing, Treguine, and Gaga Refugee Camps (total population 60,000) and 18 nearby Chadian villages, which also includes supplying reading glasses, dictionaries, secondary school books, and school supplies, and building four libraries.

For more information and photographs, visit www.bookwish.org.

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Name: Logan Kleinwaks
Phone: +1 5712813117