To mark Refugee Week, UK Friends of Aida Refugee Camp’s Alrowwad Centre in West Bank stamped hundreds of books at Book Aid International’s warehouse to go on the charity’s forthcoming shipment to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
Book Aid International has been sending books to OPT since 1988 and in 2016 the charity sent 15,000 books to public libraries, libraries in refugee camps, schools and universities there. Of these, hundreds of picture books and reading books for children and young people supported libraries in four refugee camps in West Bank, including Aida Camp.
Aida Refugee Camp was established in 1950 to house people who were displaced after Israel declared independence in 1948. The camp is severely overcrowded: it houses over 5,500 refugees in an area less than one third of a square mile. Its proximity to the separation wall means the camp’s residents experience regular clashes with the Israeli Security Forces. These clashes are particularly upsetting for the camp’s children.
Alrowwad Centre offers children in Aida Camp one of few safe places to go outside their homes. In addition to a library stocked with Book Aid International books and offering a busy programme of activities, the centre also runs drama, dance and film workshops to promote belonging, creativity and self-expression. Together, the library and these activities help camp residents deal with the challenges of camp life.
Book Aid International Chief Executive Alison Tweed said “This Refugee Week we are proud to support displaced people around the world. Displaced people, wherever they may find themselves, need access to books so that they can continue their education and keep reading. We were very pleased to welcome Friends of Alrowwad UK to our warehouse yesterday. We have seen first-hand the excellent work Alrowwad does and how their team uses the books we send to support the education of children in the camp and make books available to all.”
Melissa Scott of Friends of Alrowwad UK said “It has been a pleasure to stamp books that are destined for Alrowwad and other libraries in Palestine. The bright, vibrant books will be loved by the children who are so keen to further their education which fits the ethos of Alrowwad Centre. The centre provides a safe haven for children in Aida Camp in which to learn, grow and improve their life chances and the library is a big part of that.”
In addition to supporting refugees in OPT, Book Aid International also supports libraries in two of the world’s largest refugee camps, Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya and provides books to Souda Camp in Chios, Greece. The charity is seeking to expand its work providing books to displaced people, people living in fragile states and conflict-affected communities over the next three years and hopes to send around 25,000 books to OPT in 2017.
NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information and comment please contact Jenny Hayes, Communications Executive at Book Aid International.
t: 020 7326 5801
About Book Aid International
Book Aid International is the UK’s leading international book donation and library development charity. Every year, the charity ships around one million books to thousands of libraries in communities where people have very few opportunities to access books.
Book Aid International works with an extensive network of libraries, schools, hospitals, NGOs and other partners to ensure that the books it sends reach those who are most in need. In addition, it also run library development projects which build the capacity of librarians to support readers and communities.
The charity only sends books at the request of its library partners. These books are carefully selected by our UK team led by professional librarians to ensure that they the needs of local communities.
All of the books sent by Book Aid International are donated by the UK book trade so they are all new.
Visit www.bookaid.org for more information or join the conversation on twitter: @book_aid
About Alrowwad Centre for Culture and Arts
Alrowwad is a not-for profit NGO which provides artistic, cultural and theatre training for children in Aida Camp, Bethlehem. Alrowwad works in the spirit of social entrepreneurship to deepen the notion of belonging, volunteering, creativity and self-expression for children, youth and women, regardless of origin or religion. Arowwad also provides vocational training for job creation and building peace within individuals to be able to build it among Palestinians and the world.