The kids feel like (they are) belonging, from the books.

When Amani came to Australia as a refugee, she was determined to give her children a better start in life. The Imagination Library is helping make that possible.

Amani has always loved books and reading. It’s a passion she wanted to share with her children, Majib, seven, Hajirah, almost five, and Hayley 10 months old. So when her local Doveton playgroup introduced Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as a way of helping more local parents provide books for their children, Amani was only too happy to sign up.

I believe (in) education lies the power of life. I saw they had the Imagination Library, and I liked the books. Normally I go to the library, all my kids have library cards, and we borrow the books from the library. (But I signed up) when I saw one I loved to read.

While Amani has always encouraged her children to read, it was receiving their very own books in the mail each month to keep and to care for that helped turn them into readers, with books becoming a source of excitement and pride.

When we have visitors come to our home he goes straight away and shares the books with friends – ‘This is my book it’s come from the imagination library!’ My kids love it. When the books arrive at home we go straight away to pick up the books and they say ‘Mum can we read the books?

Now that her son Majib is seven, he’s graduated the program. His younger sisters, having shared in the excitement of their brother’s new monthly books now have their own memberships. Amani hopes that books will help her daughters excel in the same way they helped Majib.

When he went to prep, he was very good. His teacher asked ‘why is he so good with reading?’ The teacher asked me if I could come to school and help with reading. When Harijah started the Imagination Library, already she gets (books) from Majib, and she loves reading them!

These books aren’t just helping her children prepare for school. Amani feels they are playing an important role in helping more children (and parents) learn about other cultures and experiences, as well as building her children’s sense of belonging.

One of the books tells about immigration, (we) are immigration people – we come here to Australia it becomes our second country. They tell (our) kids how all around Australia is different, even for me – I don’t know all states of Australia before but I know it when I read those books with my kids. The kids feel like (they are) belonging, from the books.

More UWA Stories

The impact of the work we undertake is inspirational and far-reaching. From giving a child a head-start in their learning journey, to empowering young people to realise their potential in the workforce - the stories of collaboration and lasting change are the sole reason we strive to continue and expand the work that we do.