I am a Middle School teacher and I met the kids at Dogodogo and Emusoi while my husband, a British diplomat, was serving as British High Commissioner in Tanzania. We have seven kids of our own, aged 13 to 23.


One day, I was giving an English lesson at Dogodogo’s Kigogo Home in Dar es Salaam and using storytelling as a fun way to practise the past tense. As the boys’ experiences unfolded, I realised that something far more important was happening. Not only were they learning to express themselves in the English past tense, but they were also learning to talk about – and, to varying degrees, come to terms with – their past. They needed me to listen to what it’s like for real children when their rights are denied. Really listen. So I did.


That is why the Dogodogo boys’ – and later the Emusoi girls’ - stories became books: to give society’s most vulnerable humans a voice.


But giving them a voice is not enough. By making these books available in your school you can help your own students to listen, and - even better - take action, so that in the next generation, stories like these are no longer commonplace. Since all royalties go straight to the two centres, the more books you buy, the more the kids will benefit.


I now live in New York because my husband is UK Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN, but I continue my work promoting children’s rights – particularly education - through writing resources for teaching and learning global awareness for use in schools across the developed world.


The next book in the series, Baobab, due to be published next year, gives voice to perhaps the most vulnerable group of people of all: those in the developing world who suffer from disabilities.

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About the author : Kasia Parham

“I feel uncomfortable calling myself the “author” of these books because these are not my stories. All I did was to listen and write the stories down. I did it because I wanted to give these brave but utterly vulnerable young people a voice. I wanted to give them the chance to tell the rest of the world about what their life is really like.”

Kasia Parham with Tanzanian street children
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