Book Aid International at Hay Festival

21st April 2021 | News

This June, Hay Festival will be bringing to the virtual stage the story of a very personal struggle to bring books to all in Somaliland.

Hosted by our Chair, Lord Paul Boateng and with the founder of Somaliland’s first National Library, Ahmed Dahir Elmi and Somali-born British journalist and writer, Rageh Omaar, the event will discuss how the library that the two men willed into being is now at the heart of a thriving literacy culture in this fascinating part of the world. 

Between 1988 and 1991 war devastated Somaliland. Very little survived – and like hundreds of thousands of his countrymen, Ahmed Dahir Elmi was forced to flee his home in Hargeisa.

Ahmed lived and worked in the UK for 22 years – discovering a love of libraries while he was here. When he returned to Hargeisa in 2011 he took on an extraordinary challenge: setting up the country’s first National Library. Over the next eight years – and with the help of friend Rageh Omaar – Ahmed made his dream a reality and created Silanyo National Library.

We would be delighted if you could join us for this very special event. Please see below for details.

Rageh and Ahmed in the National Library


A library from the ashes: The story of Somaliland’s first National Library 
Tuesday 1st June, 12pm – 12.50 BST
Virtual venue: Llwayfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage
Click here to see the full programme.


Register for the event

Click here