A LITTLE girl donated all her Christmas money to a refugee charity after being inspired by a book.

Nine-year-old Esme Pearson decided to fundraise for the Red Cross’ Syria Appeal after reading Onjali Q. Rauf’s book, The Boy at the Back of the Class.

It tells the story of Ahmet, a new boy at school and a refugee who has been separated from his family.

Esme, who lives on Balfour Road, Brighton, said that after reading about reading the challenges facing refugees, she decided that instead of receiving Christmas presents, she would ask her friends and family to donate to her chosen charity.

She said: “When I read the book and realised how hard it was for them, I realised I really wanted to help and that they wouldn’t get Christmas presents.

“The only Christmas presents they wanted was to have a home.

“Lots of my friends donated and were very happy and proud of themselves that they donated and proud of me.”

The Argus: Syrian refugees arrive on the Greek Island of Lesbos.Syrian refugees arrive on the Greek Island of Lesbos.

So far, Esme, who attends Balfour Primary School in Balfour Road, Brighton has raised more than £700 – beating her initial target of £150.

Her efforts have been recognised by the book’s author who donated to, and shared a link to, the fundraiser and said that she was “proud” of Esme’s achievement.

Esme’s mum Jill said that she has been impressed by her daughter’s passion and dedication.

Jill said: “I thought she might change her mind when it came closer to essentially giving all her Christmas money away, but she had already told the headmaster at her school, so she was adamant that she was actually going to do it and I think she feels really good for doing it.

“It has also been a good lesson in educating both my children in what the refugees have to endure.

“When Esme was asking questions, we would go online and look at all the pictures and videos and it’s an eye opener for them.

“Their generation grows up quite shielded from that kind of stuff because we are so lucky to live where we are.

“It’s been a good lesson to learn about more unfortunate ways of life.”

While Esme does not have further fundraising plans at moment, she said she would love to turn her passion into a career and continue helping refugees.

To donate to Esme’s fundraiser visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/esme-pearson