The Make a Difference Foundation | 有所作為基金會
Author: Harry Sun
Illustrated by: Caterina Juliette Jacobelli
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
During the COVID-19 lockdown, I became acutely aware of a frequently neglected group in society, refugees.
As a passionate advocate for underprivileged minorities and using my skills as an IB English Literature HL student, I drew upon my experience volunteering at the Crossroads Foundation to write a book that reflects upon the refugee experience with authenticity and sensitivity.
As writing children’s literature is a new experience for myself, I approached both the Primary and Secondary librarians at Chinese International School for guidance. They recommended books from other renowned authors written about refugees as a starting point. After reading through those books, I recognised that something more could be done.
While refugee literature exists, not many books in that sub-genre is catered towards children. The majority of the books also highlight well-known and true problems faced everyday by refugees - such as family seperation, mistreatment and poverty, yet do not propose an avenue by which individuals can pitch in and help.
I was determined to author a book that not only represented the refugee experience in an authentic, respectful and dignified manner, but also is presented in a way that is engaging and accessible to children.
After three months of consultation and writing, I was ready to publish my book. Together with Caterina, an art student and a close friend, we designed the layouts of the book and illustrated the text. However, one minor issue remained: how should we name the book?
Immediately, I thought of Eskander*, a refugee that our Foundation has helped since 2018. Having fled to Hong Kong with only his mum and brother, he faced many hurdles such as poverty, the law, and society’s negative judgement of refugees. While his family’s refugee application was being processed by the Hong Kong government in a long and ardious administrative process, our Foundation has extended our support by providing him a space in our shelter, as well as access to a case worker, emotional support and free schooling.
As a law student, I believe that the purpose of the law is to protect those that lack a voice in society. Yet in many cases, Hong Kong laws surrounding refugees and migrants are hostile, difficult to navigate, and poses major barriers towards a refugee’s successful integration in Hong Kong. For example, refugees are not allowed to seek employment (work) in our city, yet are expected to pay for their own rent and living costs. This unfortunately leads many refugees down a path of desperation and crime.
To celebrate Eskander and his family, our Foundation has received consent to name the book after him. Our book is titled: Eskander Finds a Home.
*(pseudonym used to protect child’s privacy)
Together, we can Make a Difference, and ensure that everyone, regardless of skin colour or belief is treated with dignity and equity.
Please consider buying a copy of our book, which is great for introducing the issue of refugees to young children and sparking a wider discussion on how everyone can help, no matter who they are.
All funds go directly towards our refugee and orphaned children programs. We do not have any administration fees serving as overhead.
Additionally, ‘Eskander Finds a Home’ is available in online and physical bookstores come this July.
Ordering more than one copy? Please choose the Bulk Orders tab.