Many of the refugees who find their way to Amarillo have never been given the chance for a formal education. They are desperate to learn to read and write, but this is nearly impossible in a second language. We learn literacy best in our mother tongue, and then we can bridge our abilities to the English language.
But did you know that many of the languages refugees speak have precious few resources available? How can people learn to read and write if there are no books to open? That's where our exciting Heritage Language Storybook Project comes in!
In partnership with the Amarillo Area Foundation, we are collecting the stories of Amarillo's refugees and converting these into storybooks written in both English and in their native languages!
The end result is a series of illustrated books that…
- Enable adults to learn to read and write in both their native languages and in English;
- Equip children to connect with their parents' cultures, preventing them from disengaging from their heritages;
- Allow space for refugees to process their own traumas, taking ownership of their stories for the first time; and
- Honor the experiences of the refugees who call Amarillo home, providing the broader community with precious opportunities to learn from them.
If you have built trust with someone from a local refugee community, get in touch with us. We'd love to help you elicit their story and turn it into a book! Find out more by contacting our Language Services Coordinator, Betty Reyes.