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We are delighted to have received feedback from Book Aid on the impact of our support for a project to ship brand new books to refugee camps across Polykastro, Athens, Thessaloniki and Lesvos.
In 2019, we contributed £10,000 to BookAid’s Supporting Refugees project which aims to help people who have been displaced or who live in fragile states. Among the 65 million people globally who have been forced to leave their homes, more than 21 million are refugees, half of whom are under 18 years old and often have limited access to education. As affected countries strive to re-establish services, they often do not have the funds to buy books to replenish the libraries. We wanted to help, and following the success of our support for the 2018 project to rebuild the library collection at the University of Mosul, this project seemed like the ideal fit and perfectly aligns with our mission.
We donated funds to enable shipping of over 5,000 brand new books to camps across Greece, which provide shelter for around 70,000 refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, and other countries in Africa. BookAid inform us that the books are ‘used to support small libraries and workshops which are set up in the centre of the camp providing communal spaces for activities, language lessons and also to run book led activities aimed at psychosocial support. These books are helping to provide the refugees with a lifeline to escape the realities of camp life and begin to rebuild their lives.’
Habiba lives at one of the camps having fled from Afghanistan with her two children after her husband was killed. Speaking of the books she said: ‘Today I have borrowed two books—one for my son who is five years old. The other book I have borrowed is for me. I think the books are very good for me—for my heart. Books are very good for relaxation. When I lived in Afghanistan I had so many books in my library! I have a lot of hope for my children’s future, that there will be no war. Just peace.’
Habiba and her children have since been moved to a camp outside the city of Ioannis in northern Greece where they have access to a library filled with books OUP has helped to send.