Of RAGS And GRADES
Newly arrived in Kakuma Refugee Camp, adolescent Chelow has left much of his beloved family behind in South Sudan. With his brother and cousins for company, he gradually adjusts to the sometimes harsh camp life with good humour and a growing sense of duty to fulfill promises he has made to his family. Once Chelow sets his sights on a goal, there’s no stopping him (though the pretty girls in his class are a tempting distraction). But with fierce competition and many other students scrambling for the coveted top rankings at school—a near-guaranteed way out of the camp and on to a brighter future—Chelow has his work cut out for him.
Staying up all night to study and working evenings and weekends as a bike-boy shuttling passengers in and between the camps, sometimes only fueled by one meal a day, Chelow’s hard work eventually pays off. He is offered a place in a prestigious high school and finds himself waving goodbye to family, friends, and community in search of a different life. He never loses sight, however, of the incredible odds he has beaten to get where he is. Of Rags and Grades is a meticulously-told labour of love detailing the life of one boy struggling against facelessness to build a name for himself and make his family proud.