Balfour Aids Refugees through Book Program

balfourNew Zealand’s North Shore Times has written an article about the project that Claire Balfour created in Landmark Education’s self-expression and leadership program. Balfour is collecting children’s books to aid refugees with their English. Here is much of the story – the whole tale can be read at the Stuff news site.

Books Help Refugees

The integration of refugees into New Zealand is being made easier through children’s books.

North Shore resident Claire Balfour is seeking donations to build up the Auckland Refugee Centre’s stockpile of children’s picture books that help refugees learn to communicate in English.

"Often refugees are illiterate in their own language," she says.

So children’s picture books come in handy for children and adults alike.

"A lot of refugees don’t speak English, they have six weeks in the centre then they’re sent into Auckland. They don’t have clothes or furniture or anything."

The centre takes in 130 refugees every six weeks, she says.

"If the refugees have English it will benefit their quality of life, they’ll be able to integrate into society better and be able to get jobs."

Ms Balfour decided to donate books to the centre when on a personal development course with Landmark Education. One of the course components is to undertake a community project and find a way to finance it.

Ms Balfour chose to help refugees after having coached an Iranian refugee with speech therapy.

Local publishers have been getting behind her and she has already collected a few hundred children’s books.

Ms Balfour says she would once have thought it unreasonable to approach publishers and ask for donations but doing so has had positive results.

If you would like to make a donation towards providing the centre with picture books contact Ms Balfour on 021-483-065.

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