JRS Malta launches children's book

Get your children to read Kidane!

Showing that refugees are individuals with a unique history, personality and feelings is the aim of an innovative storybook for children launched by Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Malta on 29 February.

The book, called Kidane, was launched by Jesuit Provincial Paul Pace SJ in an event held at The Palace hotel. Earlier this week, the book was introduced to primary school students through activities hosted by St Benedict College, Safi Primary School, on 27, 28 and 29 February.

Written in Maltese original with an English translation, Kidane is intended for primary schoolgoing children aged between 8 and 11 years. It is part of the Art of Storytelling project, funded by the Malta Arts Fund, which includes a resource pack for teachers too.

The story of the central character of the book, Kidane, is based on that of Goitom Yosief, a 30 year old Eritrean man who was granted protection in Malta and who coordinates the JRS Malta school outreach project.

The book celebrates and expands the success of this project, which for the past seven years has made schoolchildren aware of just why people flee their homes and countries to seek refuge here.

“Through our outreach programme, children and teenagers not only come to understand the truth about the situation of refugees but also, in some cases, approach us to see how they can volunteer or be of any help. We have hardly had any negative reactions from students; they are usually attentive and appreciative,” said Goitom.

“So I am happy to share my story given the positive effect it has had on people. I hope the book will help more children understand that there are individuals, stories, emotions, behind the numbers who come seeking asylum.”

The production is the joint efforts of artists and professionals in education and refugee issues. Author Clare Azzopardi wrote the story of Kidane in close collaboration with Goitom, and artist Marisa Attard supplied captivating illustrations. A core team including an Education Department representative, teachers, JRS staff and others contributed.

To order copies of Kidane, please contact Stephanie Micallef at JRS Malta or call on 21 442751.

Dr Katrine Camilleri, Director JRS Malta

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