UPM and the Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) support reading among refugee children in Germany through German Stiftung Lesen (German Reading Foundation). Reading and literacy are fundamental to human development and a prerequisite for full participation in today’s media-led and culturally diverse society.
Stiftung Lesen will donate reading and story boxes to refugee centres all around Germany for refugee children and their families. The community accommodation in Berlin, Germany received the first of 75 reading boxes in March.
"Everyone has the right to education and the command of a language is a fundamental requirement for getting on at school. Reading also helps children to get to know the new world around them. I hope that this programme will encourage the integration of families that have had to leave their home countries and I believe that reading together can make a valuable contribution to this", says Winfried Schaur, Executive Vice President, UPM Paper ENA.
Winfried Schaur reading to the children.
Stephan Scherzer, Managing Director of the VDZ, also stressed the importance of reading and reading aloud to promote integration. "The VDZ is delighted to be involved in the work of Stiftung Lesen and the Deutschlandstiftung Integration (German foundation for integration). We are very pleased that we can now connect our commitment to reading and integration."
"Every day, we are contacted by institutions and volunteers from all over Germany who read with and to refugee children. Thanks to the support of UPM and the VDZ, we can now assist many of them in their important work", Sabine Uehlein, Managing Director of Programmes and Projects at Stiftung Lesen said.
Thousands of books for refugee children
The reading box, entitled "Reading together — living together", is aimed at reading mentors and people involved in refugee work. It is targeted to refugee children between the ages of 0 and 12 years.
The box includes picture dictionaries, activity picture books, multilingual books, song and rhyme books with audio CDs, a set of picture cards, as well as children's encyclopaedias containing lots of pictures. The reading box also contains accompanying materials with tips and ideas for how to use reading and story time in a useful and varied way.
UPM donated books to village schools in Uruguay
The two village schools of Quebracho in Paysandú, Uruguay welcomed UPM Foundation’s book donation with great enthusiasm.
“We aim to improve the reading habits of school children in a new way but also improve the amount of interest that their families display for reading and education in general. The idea is to go around the neighbourhood and visit children and hundreds of families and spend time with them by reading and lending books,” says Rosario Maldonado who is the head teacher of one of the schools involved.
Maldonado adds that there is also a public library in the village, but the books are old and in poor condition so there is an urgent need to have new and updated editions.
“We proposed a project to renew our library to the UPM Foundation. They showed us the green light and delivered us some 170 new books from our wish list. The children are happy as they like to listen to stories and read encyclopaedias but families are also happy with the experiment.”
The UPM Foundation’s projects enhance co-operation with local communities to promote education and development. The Quebracho village of some 3,000 habitants has already worked with the UPM Foundation previously as part of another reading project.