Every Picture Tells a Story: Refugees Receive ESL Books

Our second shipment of Headway English textbooks has just reached the Darfur refugee camps of eastern Chad. The following report and photos from our on-the-ground partner CORD capture the moment the refugees received this "lifeline." We are now half way to meeting the needs of the English classes in the camps, and ask for your support to enable additional shipments.

It was smiles all round in Chad as the second consignment of English text books from Book Wish were distributed to the teachers and students of CORD’s Education programme.

Ladies study English at home in Treguine CampLadies' class studying new English textbooks at a home in Treguine Refugee Camp, eastern Chad. (PHOTOS: Anne Goddard)

The books, heavily discounted by Oxford University Press, flown free to Chad by Air France and donated by supporters of the Book Wish Foundation, are guaranteed to make a huge difference to the lives of the Darfuri refugees.

Most have spent the last four years in exile after fleeing for their lives the atrocities in their homeland; and with no hope of returning home, education is a vital component in building themselves a future.

The books, given to students in Bredjing, Treguine and Gaga camps, are a real lifeline; they replace the few inadequate texts, produced in the 1950s, which were being shared by many and which were hopelessly outdated and well thumbed.

Men from the evening classes celebrate the arrival of the Headway booksMen from the evening classes celebrate the arrival of the Headway English books in Treguine Camp.

"The joy these books bring has to be seen to be believed," said CORD’s Education Manager, Anne Goddard. "We are so grateful to our Book Wish supporters, and to everyone who played their part in ensuring the books got to us so speedily and safely. The new academic year has just begun, and to have these books arrive has given us all fresh hope and impetus to succeed in our study programme."

The camps are in the remote east of Chad near the Sudanese border, where life is harsh, temperatures are punishing, and where the global credit crunch is hitting hard. Major donor budgets are being squeezed as the Darfur crisis slips off the political agenda, while increased fuel and other prices mean that agencies like CORD are finding their budgets stretched to meet essential needs.

"It is hard to explain how fantastic it is to receive support and help from people around the globe," said Anne. "CORD’s work with the Sudanese refugees and to the local Chadian villagers remains as vital as ever; and we owe the Foundation a huge thank you for their help and commitment."

Book Wish Foundation, in turn, owes a huge thank you to all our individual donors and, especially, the two corporate sponsors for Headway, Oxford University Press and Air France. You are directly improving the refugees' lives, providing them hope and skills for future prosperity.

Older students examining new Headway booksOlder students examining the new Headway books in Treguine Camp.
English teachers in Treguine campSome of the English teachers in Treguine Camp with their new curriculum. The teachers are themselves refugees, trained by CORD.