Every Sunday children arrive from different parts of Athens, alone, with friends, with their parents or teachers, to read. They are Arab speaking children, mostly from Syria, who, urged by their schools, are entering the Arab Reading Challenge, a highly competitive event held annually in Dubai. From now until April, each of them will have read and summarized 25 books and our library is the only place in Athens where they can find a variety of age-appropriate books in Arabic.
So they come Sunday after Sunday. There were there in the freezing cold, before we got heating for the library. Some of them change three buses to get here. Week after week we talk, we get to know their names, what books they like most. It gives us great joy to see every space in the library occupied by children with books on their lap!
We would like to thank you once again, as it is with your support that we are able to buy quality books in the languages of our young readers!
We are delighted to be celebrating the opening of our multilingual library / multicultural center on November 1st, with drinks and music and on November 2nd with activities for the children!
Finally Athens will have an inclusive cultural center, a place where children can read stories in their maternal languages, where people can meet and exchange ideas, organize events together and learn from each other!
It is your contributions that made this possible and we hope you are as proud as we are that together we have given Athens' First (and only) Multilingual Library a permanent home.
In our new space we are offering free Greek & English language lessons to refugees and migrants, workshops for children and adults and after school support for migrant children. We also do screenings, organize community and networking events and art exhibitions. In our new garden, we plant vegetable with the children and learn how to look after the plants. And we have plenty of space for our large collection of books, a seperate area for the children's library, comfortable seating for reading and two co-working spaces!
We hope that you will remain with us in our efforts to empower refugees to build a new life in Athens and to create a more inclusive society.
Ioanna & Nadir
Founders of We Need Books
Oct 3, 2019
By Ioanna Nisyriou - Co-founder of We Need Books
With your donations and with a fund of $30,000 we received for this project we have been able to provide 24 families with materials to repair sections of their homes that were damaged in the fire of August 2018, and to replace furniture and appliances that were completely destroyed. This relieved a lot of the financial pressure the families were under and allowed them to returned to a sense of normalcy.
It has been a humbling experience working alongside people who experienced the devastating effects of the fire. We would like to thank you for standing by their side during the difficult year that followed.
The time has come to close this project and carry on with our main work, which is providing Athens with a multilingual library.