Refugee children arriving in Bendigo will find settling in a lot easier with dozens of free books to soon become available from Bendigo Community Health Services sites.

The BCHS Settlement Services team have taken possession of three Book Box Libraries to make books available to refugee children.

The Little Book Box Libraries will be filled with donated books for children to read, borrow and take. 

The libraries are an initiative of Communities for Children Early Years Literacy and Language Strategy supported by Be.Bendigo’s Education City Committee and part of their Decade of Support for Early Childhood Literacy.

Bendigo Community Health Services settlement services team manager Martine Street said the organisation was keen to get the little libraries during Refugee Week.

“These little libraries will be a part of a program to provide every newly-arrived child with a book as part of their welcome package,” Martine said.

“The Book Boxes will also be placed in our service area so children can use them when they attend with their parents.

“We think the Book Boxes are a wonderful resource. They encourage children to engage with books and through them become familiar with or strengthen what is often a new language. Stories are a traditional way of learning, but some of these children will have never owned a book.

“With these boxes being constantly refilled with donated books, the children can take them home to keep. They will often share a book with their siblings and parents so they really are a resource for the whole family.”

To learn more about the refugee services offered by Bendigo Community Health Services browse our website

Bendigo Education City chair Maria Simpson said research showed that being prepared with the necessary range of words and reading skills before children start school was fundamental to success.

“This has a direct impact on a child’s success not only in school but also in gaining and maintaining employment. We want every child in Bendigo to have the right to a successful and happy school life and to contribute positively to our Bendigo community and businesses in the future,” Maria said.

Bendigo Education City and Be.Bendigo are together promoting a Decade of Support for Early Childhood Literacy. The aim is to raise awareness and funds in support of the objective that by 2027 every child in Bendigo will start school with at least or above the state average levels of language and literacy.

Funds raised will support the maintenance of Communities for Children Early Years Literacy and Language programs including Books for Babies, Let’s Read, Imagination Library and Book Box Libraries.

Donations can be made at or