“Books are medicine for the mind”: World Book Day
“Reading is food for minds. It is medicine.” – a former Mercy Connect Student
These beautiful words were written by one of our refugee students from Iraq, during her time working with our Mercy Connect, Sydney, program.
Abiha* says she had to “start from scratch” when she arrived with her family in Australia in 2019, after she lost everything in her mother country of Iraq, because of war.
But her favourite place was school as it is “the first place I achieved progress in life”. It was here she developed her love of learning and books.
“Books are the children of mind – I find myself reading every day. Reading is food for minds. It is medicine. In 2018, I challenged myself to finish thirty books – I happily finished 43.”
If World Book Day aims to highlight the power of books and their ability to impart knowledge and values to readers, we can’t think of a more worthy example.
Celebrating the day reinforces the idea that books serve as windows into different worlds, both fictional and non-fictional.
After her arrival in Australia, Abiha placed first in an Arabic Writing Competition as well as receiving an Outstanding Attendance Award and the Victor Chang Cardiac Award for Excellence In Science.
Her love of books has also meant she was involved in school initiatives as a library assistant and magazine writer.
In 2019, she was also the proud recipient of a Leadership Award and then in 2021, she became College Captain and lead the SRC team for charity/school fundraisers in a creative way, given the challenging times of COVID-19.
She also attended the Leadership Program at NSW Parliament and web the Community Service/Leadership Award from the Sydney Refugee Youth Awards that same year.
Now studying medicine at university, Abiha is busily purchasing textbooks and medical equipment and resources for her studies in medicine.
“My main goal is to be a doctor and a great neurologist,” she says. “I love medicine. Studying and working in medicine is like life. I want to help people live well.”
Abiha says she believes in the “power of education and medicine” after her “mother suffered trauma” and became paralysed because of her mental health. “Treatment and remedies are healing her,” she says.
*Abiha is not her real name
Photos are not related to this post, but from our Mercy Connect Program.