We are committed to ensuring that those facing displacement, disaster, poverty or struggling to get an education have access to the books they need.
In some locations, this requires us to run smaller projects which focus on specific areas or communities within a country.
Reaching readers in rural Bhutan
The Himalayan country of Bhutan is known for its beautiful mountains and its ‘Gross National Happiness’ but many people have no access to books. The majority of the population live in remote rural areas far from the country’s only public library which is situated in in the capital city, Thimphu. As a result, Bhutan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the whole of Asia.
In 2018 we sent 5,106 brand new books to READ Bhutan, an NGO that works to give all children the chance to read and create community libraries cross the country.
Ongoing support to The Caribbean
In September 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall on the Caribbean island of Barbuda as a Category Five storm, devastating the island. It was followed just a few days later by Hurricane Jose. The hurricanes went on to inflict destruction on the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos.
Schools, libraries and other public institutions were destroyed and many books were lost along with those schools and libraries.
We began supporting readers in Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands Dominica in 2017 with donations of brand new books to support displaced people and enable children to keep learning in the wake of the hurricane. Today, we continue to send books to support the islands’ recovery and in 2018, we sent 5,575 books restock their school and library shelves as they begin to rebuild.
Supporting refugees in Greece
Greece is on the front line of Southern Europe’s refugee crisis. In 2018 alone, over 50,000 people arrived in Greece*. The people arriving from Greece need everything from healthcare to education to shelter.
The books we send offer the chance to continue an interrupted education, begin learning English or simply escape the challenges of day to day life for a few hours. We are providing books to a number of NGOs supporting refugees in Greece including ECHO Greece, METAdrasi and The Mosaic Project.
In 2018 we sent 5,669 brand new books to our partners, including Arabic phonics readers, English as a Second Language books and leisure reading books.
Restocking the library IS destroyed in Iraq
In 2015, IS fighters deliberately destroyed the library of the University of Mosul, burning thousands of books on philosophy, science, law and poetry in what UNESCO called “one of the most devastating acts of destruction of library collections in human history.”
When University of Mosul academic and lecturer Dr. Alaa Hamdon returned to Mosul, he was shocked by the damage. He founded the Mosul Book Bridge campaign to rebuild the lost collection: a huge task but vital restoring the city’s cultural and intellectual identity.
We are working with Mosul Book Bridge to restock the library and in 2018 sent 3,791 brand new books. This is just the start as many, many more books are needed. We hope to send another shipment as soon as the university and our other partners are ready to receive them. To find out more and support future shipments, click here.
Supporting Syrian refugees in Jordan
More than five million Syrians have been forced to flee conflict in their home country and seek shelter in neighbouring countries like Jordan which now hosts around 700,000 displaced Syrians. Jordan is the second most water-poor country in the world and the large influx of refugees has put further strain on the country.
In 2018, we sent 2,591 brand new books to support international NGO Mercy Corps’s work in Jordan. The books are being used to help fill a new public library in the Za’atari Refugee Camp and to enrich six local community libraries which will benefit Syrian refugees as well as vulnerable Jordanians.
Supporting Syrian refugees in Lebanon
Lebanon hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country except for Turkey. The influx is so profound that refugees now make up 25% of the country’s population of 4.4 million. According to the UN, Lebanon has the highest per-capita concentration of refugees anywhere in the world.
In 2017, we sent 1,899 children’s books including Arabic readers, teacher training manuals and English as a Second Language books to our partner in the country, Jusoor Syria. Jusoor’s mission is to help Syrian youth realize their potential through programs in the fields of education, career development, and global community engagement. These books will give young readers a critical opportunity to keep learning despite their displacement.
Supporting medical care in Nepal
In 2018, we sent 205 brand new books on dentistry and oral medicine to support NGO Future Faces’ Craniofacial Centre’s new library in Janakpur, Nepal. The centre is linked to a hospital dedicated to cleft and craniomaxillofacial surgery and the books are being used by centre staff to develop their skills. When nearly all of Nepal’s major health facilities are located in Kathmandu, this hospital and centre provide vital access to medical care for people far from the capital city.
*Source: UNHCR Data Portal