Attention is currently focused on the millions of Ukrainians who are fleeing conflict and seeking safety. They are quickly becoming members of a huge, global refugee population—nearly 90 million people are forcibly displaced every year.
Refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mexico, Central and South America are also entering communities and classrooms in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. At the City of Light we wish them a warm and safe welcome!
In our recent article How We Can Help, we discussed our Welcome Ukrainian Refugees Book Donation Campaign, which invites people in communities everywhere to purchase copies of Hello! A Welcoming Story and donate them to their local elementary schools and libraries. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) fundraising effort. We want these books to get into as many schools as possible as quickly as possible. We also want to make clear that while the Ukrainian invasion crisis is the exigency behind this campaign, the books donated are for the benefit of all refugee children who arrive from different countries across the globe.
Then, high school seniors in the Traditions Club of the Lewiston-Porter High School decided to welcome refugee children to their community. Under the direction of Amy Townsend, they bought 45 copies of Hello! A Welcoming Story and proceeded to donate them to each and every pre-K though 5th grade classroom in the Lewiston-Porter School District, also providing teachers with the free downloadable Educator Guide and Activity sheet. Just to ice the cake, they then took three copies off the top and donated them to area libraries!
Refugee children are entering classrooms in new communities. They will feel out of place, overwhelmed, and strange. Their new classmates may not understand where they are from and what they have been through. Teachers and counselors are searching for ways to help them feel accepted and understood and Hello! A Welcoming Story is a key resource for helping these children navigate the complexities of displacement.
You can help by identifying a group within your school system and suggesting they follow the lead of the Traditions Club, and/or purchase a copy of Hello! A Welcoming Story and donate it to your local elementary school or public library. Teachers, counselors, and librarians need this two-in-one picture book to help ensure that these youngsters are welcomed and accepted.