I am absolutely thrilled to share that my friend, campaigner, activist, writer and Being the Story speaker Onjali Rauf won the Blue Peter Book Awards in the ‘best story’ category for her book The Boy at the Back of the Class.
This award celebrates children’s books published in the last year. Since 2000, these awards have been recognising and celebrating the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children. Onjali’s book is really special, it tells the story of the friendship between four classmates and Ahmet, a boy that comes to their school as a refugee from Syria. I’m not going to give too much away but there are so many important messages for the reader both children and adults including the power of kindness. Please do buy a copy I know you’ll love it as much as I did.
I first met Onjali several years ago when I went to an interfaith meeting run by the charity Nisa Nashim which brought together Jewish and Muslim women.
We sat next to one another and the friendship was instantaneous. I suspect anyone who sits next to Onjali will feel the same energy and electricity by being in her presence as I did. Over the time I got to know about her campaigning work for women’s rights and refugees and her ‘just do it’ attitude to helping others. In 2017 I invited Onjali to take part in Being the Story a storytelling event which gives a platform to incredible individuals who’ve have used a life-changing experience to create societal change. In 2011 Onjali’s aunt was murdered by the husband she had been trying to escape from for over five years, highlighting the systematic failures around the abuse and murders of women in the United Kingdom. Determined to do something in memory of her aunt, Onjali set up Making Herstory. Today Making Herstory has a network of active supporters across the UK. Working with agencies large and small, it has supported women’s shelters and outreach projects including refugee projects here and in France.
Being the Story – No Action Too Small.
Too often, whilst watching wars unfold, hearing of refugees dying out at sea or reading of yet another abuse, rape or murder, the words “What can I do?” escape our lips. But what we all too often forget is the ripple effects that a single action launched with a simple intention can yield. Using her own experiences in seeing this particular truth unfold, in her Being the Story talk ‘No Action too Small’ Onjali shares her story and the creation and unexpected journeys Making Herstory continues to lead her on, and why there is no such thing as an action too small.
This month we’re crowdfunding to support a network of spokespeople, like Onjali, who are using their lived experiences to offer ideas and solutions to some of societies big social issues. We have an ambitious goal so please do take a look at our page to find out why this network matters.