Onjali Q. Rauf

In this very special masterclass for Empathy Day 2019, we explore the refugee crisis with Onjali's award-winning book, 'The Boy at the Back of the Class'
Creating Empathy with Onjali Q. Rauf

About The Author:

Onjali Q. Raúf  is Founder and CEO of Making Herstory: a human rights organisation working in partnership with other movements to end the abuse, trafficking and enslavement of women and girls in the UK and beyond. She was shortlisted for the Care2 Impact Award and Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize in 2014, and The Independent’s Happy List in 2017 for her works in the women’s rights sector. Previously the Campaigns Manager for Women for Women International (UK) and Assistant Editor for emel Magazine, she is an Alumni of the Cambridge Coexist Leadership Programme (CCLP) and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought. She is also an appointed Adviser to the Women’s Refugee Centre Dunkirk.

About The Book:


Told with heart and humour, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child’s perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn’t always make sense.

There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it. He’s nine years old (just like me), but he’s very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets – not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite! But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn’t very strange at all. He’s a refugee who’s run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help. That’s where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we’ve come up with a plan. . .

With beautiful illustrations by Pippa Curnick

Praise for ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’:

‘Rauf’s book is at once tearjerking and chuckle-inducing and will go a long way to restore faith in human nature.’ – The Sunday Post
‘Onjali Raúf’s debut, The Boy at the Back of the Class (Orion), illustrated by Pippa Curnick, offers a child’s eye view and an ambitious, adventure-filled plot. When a new boy is introduced at school, no one is exactly sure where he has come from; what is a “refugee kid”, anyway, and how can Ahmet be helped to feel that he belongs? Though the narrator’s voice is overly young at times, this is a lovely, warm-hearted first novel, a celebration of courage and friendship leavened with mischief.’ – The Guardian

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'The Boy at the Back of the Class' Videos and Resources

Empathy Day 2019 Video

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