Build a Bridge Not a Wall
Kia ora, my name is Ali, and I was created by Atawhai, a Young Enterprise company, made up of six students from refugee/migrant backgrounds. Atawhai means kindness in Maori, and my creators have been kind enough to put my story in a children's book called “Ali's First Day at School”. My creators want to make everyone feel welcome in New Zealand regardless of their background, and they’ve chosen me to share their message. I couldn’t be more proud.
I am a refugee from Afghanistan and my first day at school in New Zealand was very confusing. I was invited to play "Footy" at lunchtime and I was very excited. Finally, something I knew. I ran onto the field to play football but I was thrown a rugby ball. It was the oddest shaped football I had ever seen. I then got tackled; a proper rugby tackle! I lay on the ground stunned but was kindly helped up by another student named Matthew.
My creators wrote down my story and asked two other students to bring me to life on the pages of their books. I really like the colours they’ve used although my shoes are a bit too big. They look like safety shoes.
My creators then shared me with people from all over Auckland and the world. My story has been read by primary school students in New Zealand, Afghanistan and Iran. It has been so nice to see the smiling faces of the children. My story has also been welcomed by many adults. And I’ve also been to Australia, Belgium, Canada and the United States of America. I got a bit jet-lagged.
So far, 300 copies of my story have made their way to customers. It would have been more, but my creators said they had some issues with bringing me to life. I hope I wasn’t too much trouble. One of the problems was to do with my language and grammar. I’m still learning English, you see. It can be quite difficult at times. There is a cow and cows but not sheep and sheeps. Why?
My creators are very excited about the future. They are working with other creators to help share my story with even more customers and I may even go on a new adventure. I wonder what I will do?
Stay tuned to find out
Tashakur - Ali
To make everyone feel welcomed in New Zealand regardless of their background.
275 Ormiston Rd