Hi, my name is Ray, and I'm eleven years old. A few months ago I read a book called The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q Rauf (who also wrote The Boy At the Back of The Class) and it completely changed how I felt.
Firstly, I knew that Refuges existed for women having to leave their homes because they feared their husband or partner would keep hurting them or kill them. What I didn't know is that many children also have to leave their homes, at really short notice, and live in the Refuge. This is such a scary time for them. After reading this book I realised that if children living in a Refuge had the opportunity to read it too it may make them feel a bit better that they're not going through this alone.
Domestic Abuse is the biggest issue affecting women and children in our society today, but not many people know what this is because it is a subject that a lot of people may be embarrassed about. Some don't even realise it's happening to them. I first learnt about it from my mum whose job now includes running a helpline for The Freedom Programme. She helps women understand that they are important, and that one day they will feel safe again. If women are okay then their children will also have a better childhood and be less afraid.
My aim is to raise enough money, by selling books (in really good condition) which people have donated and no longer want. These can be resold at events that you can set up really easily in a school or wherever you work. I'll be charging 50p per book at my school event. The money raised from these events can be donated to Books For Books where the whole amount will be used to get at least one copy of The Star Outside My Window to EVERY Refuge in the UK.
At first I was really excited about doing this. Then I felt very overwhelmed. Then my mum reassured me that there will be lots of people to help achieve this goal and that I can take it a step at a time. This project is really important. Children never choose to be in a Refuge. And when they are they have left behind their possessions and favourite toys, games and books. Some children have to also give up their pets because they are not allowed in Refuges. Having the opportunity to read this book will give them hope and time to process what is happening.
Thank you for reading this and please donate whatever you can, £1, £10, £100, any amount is okay. Your contribution will make a huge difference.