Books when conflict strikes
Where conflict has robbed entire communities of their homes, books offer the opportunity to continue education, to escape into a story, to learn new skills and to find new hope for a brighter future.
20 million young people around the world who are living with conflict are out of school – and today more people are displaced by war than at any time since the Second World War. Displaced children often miss out on critical stages of their education, and that lost learning can have life-long implications. That’s why we are determined to provide access to books to those who live with or have fled conflict.
Reaching refugees across Africa
195,308 people live in Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya,107,364 of whom are under the age of 18. They cannot leave the camp and schools are poorly resourced. Over 100 learners often share a single teacher and a few tattered textbooks. We are working with Windle International Kenya, an NGO that runs the secondary schools in Kakuma, to give 25,000 pupils access to books in their schools to support their learning and expand their horizons. To find out about our work in Kakuma, click here.
Uganda is home to 1.45m refugees and young people make up a third of the refugees who continue to arrive daily. Many of these children are deeply traumatised by their experiences of fleeing conflict. We worked with local NGO Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO) to support their dedicated children’s spaces, stocking them with carefully selected children’s books which offer young refugees the opportunity to enjoy a great story and regain a sense of normality. Click here to learn more.
Reaching refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Greece and beyond
Since 2015, we have been working with a range of NGOs that support refugees who have fled conflicts at home, providing tens of thousands of books to support refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Greece. These books are being used in libraries in refugee camps, community libraries, mobile libraries and grassroots education programmes. They offer refugees an opportunity to keep learning despite being displaced from home and a chance to escape into the joy that a great story can offer.
Helping people live with and recover from conflict
In Syria, we’re working with International NGO Syria Relief to offer books to support education in the Idlib province. Since 2018 we’ve provided over 16,000 books to support children’s learning. These books are a lifeline for young readers, many of whom have known nothing but war. We have also sent over 9,000 higher education texts to Idlib University, giving students access to the information they need to further their studies.
In Cameroon where tens of thousands of people have been displaced by on-going conflict in the country’s anglophone provinces, we’re working with our partners to provide books in damp proof, lockable boxes – called Discovery Book Boxes – to children who have lost their homes. Children who have no school library and are facing hardship have the opportunity to read, learn and escape into a story.
And in 2015, IS fighters destroyed the University of Mosul library in Iraq, burning over one million books in what UNESCO called one of the most devastating acts of library destruction in history. As life returned to Mosul, reconstruction of the library began, and we have been providing books to help repopulate the shelves. We are committed to sending a total of 50,000 books by 2024.