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We joined publishers around the UK, in a donation of thousands of brand new children’s books for War Child UK to use in its great work. These include story books in English, English readers to support young learners as they learn English, and a donation of 820 Arabic readers donated by OUP. War Child UK has been supporting children in Iraq since 2003, most recently responding to the one million people who were displaced since the military offensive against ISIS began. The charity will rehabilitate 12 schools which have been destroyed by fighting in the West of Mosul and train teachers to be able to deliver education in emergencies and psychosocial support.
Additionally, a number of carefully selected books were donated to help the University of Mosul rebuild its library after it was destroyed by IS. The donated books will help the University restore its library collection and get students back to learning. Dr. Alaa Hamdon from the university spoke of what the arrival of the books means to him: ‘I am looking so forward to seeing these books reaching the library shelves. It’s my hope and my dream is those books being used by students and readers.’
Rachel Goode, Group Communications Director at OUP, commented: ‘We’ve supported Book Aid International for many years now, and are always impressed by how tirelessly they work to help people access books and educational resources, even in some of the hardest to reach parts of the world. This is a truly fantastic and worthwhile project, and we’re so pleased that we have been able to support it. We’re particularly proud to have enabled Book Aid International to provide Arabic books for the first time—something I hope we can support again in the future. I look forward to continuing our partnership so that we can give even more people across the world the chance to read and learn.’
Jess Oddy, Education in Emergencies Advisor for War Child UK added: ‘For years, the children that we work with in Mosul have had had little or no access to education—these books will be vital in supporting teaching and learning, and helping children gain a strong foundation in literacy—the books can be used to set up reading circles, mobile libraries, and storytelling, which can be an incredibly powerful therapeutic tool to process and reflect upon their experiences and stimulate hope for the future.’
Book Aid International Chief Executive Alison Tweed expressed the charity’s thanks to all those involved: ‘I would like to thank everyone who made this shipment possible, particularly all the generous publishers who donated these much-needed books, the individuals who funded the cost of transportation, the volunteers who packed the books, and our great operations team who found a way to get the books to Mosul.’
*Photo: War Child UK, Marcia Chandra