BOOKS 4 REFUGEES Books 4 Life donates € 600 in December 2005 Laura van Waas, chairman of Books 4 Life, submitted a proposal to donate some money to Children Better Way. This is a local volunteer organisation in Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana . The camp houses over 40,000 refugees from Liberia . A vast majority of the camp's residents are children - most were born in the camp and have never seen their home country. Children Better Way was founded by Semeh Roberts, himself a refugee who was forced to flee the fighting in Liberia . He saw the need to provide schooling for those children who could not afford it – all of the schools in the camp charged substantial tuition fees. So, together with a group of other volunteers, he started a school. Now, Children Better Way runs both a pre-primary and a primary school with a total of more than 600 children. Through an international volunteer programme, Laura spent a month in Buduburam refugee camp in the summer of 2005, assisting Children Better Way with its many projects. Besides its schools, it also runs projects to clean up the camp, to provide water to camp residents, to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and to assist single mothers to start their own little business. Laura saw that Children Better Way does a fantastic job, but was very short on resources for all of its projects. In particular, the teachers were trying to teach without any real supplies or reading materials. Books 4 Life volunteers agreed that providing basic teaching and reading materials for this organisation would be a fantastic contribution to its work and pledged € 600 to this end. Read more about the work of the organisation on their website: www.childrenbetterway.org. Selling books… to buy books: 1 year on Laura van Waas, November 2006 With the big white dress carefully packed away and the “champagne buzz” slowly subsiding, my thoughts turned to the next big adventure. It was not far off. As is traditional for newlyweds, my husband and I would soon be embarking on our honeymoon. Less- traditionally, our honeymoon would take us to a refugee camp in Africa where we had signed up to do a month of voluntary work… This is how, in the summer of 2005, I got to know some of the 42,000 Liberian refugees living in Buduburam refugee camp, Ghana. Many of them have been there for over a decade after being forced to flee the violent civil war that was waging in their home country. Most of the refugee camp’s residents are children, stuck in this limbo with their parents or guardians, waiting until their country is safe for them to return and build a new life. Luckily, a number of organisations have sprung up in the camp to look after these displaced people’s needs, to educate the children and to give everyone back some sense of self-worth and empowerment. One of these organisations is Children Better Way, set up by refugee Semeh Roberts. With the help of volunteers from within the refugee community and from overseas, it runs a variety of projects: to clean up the camp, to provide drinking water, to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and to assist single mothers in starting their own small businesses. But its core activities, as the name suggests, are focused on children. Children Better Way runs a kindergarten and primary school, providing a basic education to those children who cannot afford the tuition fees of the regular schools in the camp. More than 600 pupils attend the primary school and the numbers are growing. At first, lessons were taught in one large hall (that serves as a church at weekends), with utter chaos 10 often the result. So a new building was constructed to house the school, providing separate classrooms for each age group as well as a toilet block. It was opened in September 2005. The new primary school building offers another special feature: a library. The teachers have very few books or materials and the pupils even less, so the new school library will be a great help as a central store of textbooks, reading books and other materials to be used by all. Having witnessed part of the construction of the new school and seen the empty room that would one day serve as a library, back in Holland I suggested that we could help to fill this room with books. With the donation made by Books 4 Life in December 2005, Children Better Way was able to buy a teacher and student textbook for each subject taught at each grade level. With the guidance of the school principal, Thomas, some extra reading and classroom materials were also purchased. Altogether a valuable contribution to the education of children who will one day help to rebuild their war-torn country.
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