Marlborough LitFest is joining the celebrations of the town’s link with Eglantyne Jebb who founded Save the Children one hundred years ago and who taught in St Peter’s School from 1899 to 1890.
LitFest, together with Save the Children, is raising awareness in local schools of the work of the charity and of the obstacles overcome by child refugees. The focus is Sarah Garland’s graphic novel, ‘Azzi in Between’.
After studying the novel and listening to talks from Save the Children representatives, children are invited to respond to the issues raised through any medium: paintings, poetry, prose, even fund raising activities.
One class at Marlborough St Mary’s has started to grow runner beans as in the novel Azzi brings beans from her home country to her new life as a refugee.
An exhibition of the children’s varied responses to the novel will be held in the Town Hall and the library at the end of September in time for LitFest. The exhibition will be moved to St Mary’s church in December in readiness for the service of remembrance for Eglantyne Jebb on December 15.
Gill Macdonald, member of the LitFest Committee, told marlborough.news: “This novel is accessible to all across the Primary age range. It’s highly relevant and encourages children to respond to one of today’s big issues. It’s a fitting celebration of the centenary of Save the Children.”
The novel, which is told from a child’s perspective, follows the story of Azzi and her family who are forced to flee their country in order to survive. It emphasises the privations refugee children and their families experience by leaving their home, undergoing a long, difficult and dangerous journey before trying to make a new life and learning a new language.
Writing about her graphic novel, Sarah Garland describes how the character of Azzi faces life with “courage, humour and fortitude.”
In her visit to Marlborough St Mary’s, Jennifer Brisker from Save the Children told the pupils how the charity works to try to ensure that all children have enough food, clean water, education, shelter and protection.
Jennifer is pleased to be involved in this LitFest project: “Our founder taught in this town and she would be delighted that the Marlborough LitFest organisers have involved local school children in understanding the plight of refugee children and in expressing their thoughts through creative arts.”