Jul 30, 2019

Temporarily Unavailable!

Nadir breaking tiles.
Nadir breaking tiles.

Dear Friends and Supporters!


As we mentioned in our previous report, we have rented a large space for our multicultural center to move to, which we are currently renovating. All building work is expected to be over by August 15th. Then we will be faced with the daunting task of unpacking and putting on shelves all our books, which are stored in 350+ boxes! Meanwhile, all our lessons and activities have been suspended until September. 

The new space will have a teaching room, a large area for reading, for socializing, for exhibitions and events, a children's space and a little back garden. Most of the furniture has been donated and a lot of the work is being done by us, former students of ours and local volunteers. 

We will leave you with some more good news. Justine Hanna, an Australian librarian we met last year, has managed to source 4 boxes of Arabic books for us and has even managed to raise the funds needed to ship the books to us from Melbourne! So when we open again in September we will have the largest collection of Arabic books in Athens! We are thrilled!

You can listen to the intervew we gave Ms Hanna here:



We wish you a very happy summer,

Ioanna & Nadir

Founders of We Need Books

Jul 26, 2019

A year has passed

Dear friends,

On the 23rd of July 2018 a devastating fire claimed the lives of 102 people and destroyed hundreds of houses. 

With your help and with a fund of $30,000 we received, we were able to provide 20 families whose homes were partially destroyed with the necessary equipment and materials to make their homes habitable again. We were able to buy stoves and refridgerators, tiles and paint, children's desks and beds.

Your contributions have made a very big difference to the lives of the 68 adults and children who have benefited from this project. 

We thank you with all our hearts!

Ioanna Nisyriou

Co-founder of We Need Books

May 3, 2019

Getting ready to move!

Gulwali Passarlay talking about his book
Gulwali Passarlay talking about his book

Dear Friend,


It's going to be a very busy summer for We Need Books and we need your support as much as ever!


As communicated in previous reports, the Municipality of Athens had given us use of a wonderful space for our pilot multilingual library from October to April. Recently it was decided to extend the library's stay at the three-floor building of Theatre Sq until the end of July. While we are still there, we have organized two events:


On May 17th musicians from different parts of the world will meet at the library to perfom for each other, exchange ideas, discuss the challenges they are facing, try to find solutions together and hopefully collaborate on future projects. This is organised in partnership with Tolerance Maneuver, a band from the UK who are coming to Athens especially for this event. They will be joined by musicians from Eleonas camp, from the NGO Musikarama, by local musicians, musicians from the different migrant communitites, all playing different instruments and styles but all wanting to connect with each other. Their performances will be open and free to the public.


On May 20th until the end of June we will be hosting our second artistic exhibition, around the theme of books and otherness, with the participation of local and international artists.   


During our time at Theatre Sq the library has become a meeting place for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, a place to read, to study, to participate in workshops, to learn new languages. Also to take part in events such as the Literature and Empathy as Tools for Social Inclusion Open Panel Discussion organized by We Need Books which took place in March (see photo). We were very happy that Mr Passarlay, the human rights activist and author of A Lightless Sky, an autobiographic book about an unaccompanied boy's journey from Afghanistan to the UK, came especially from England to join our esteemed panel which included award winning author and translator Maria Angelidou, Vice Mayor for Refugees and Migrants Lefteris Papagiannakis and Sofia Kouvelaki, CEO of The HOME Project.  


In the 9 months we have been there we have also extended our collaboration with other NGOs working on the field in Athens and we have been able to support various refugee hospitality centres around Greece with book donations so that they can create their own libraries. So when this collaboration with the Municipality of Athens ends, it is important that the library relocates and that all its activities carry on without interruption. 


In anticipation of that moment, we have already found and rented a space to relocate to. The new home of the multilingual libray will be in Kypseli, the most culturally diverse area of Athens and home to other grassroots NGOS, shelters and community initiatives. We are in the process -with the help of our valued volunteers- of planning, cleaning and painting the new space before we move our collection of 9,000 books which has been in storage and the pilot library from Theatre Sq. As we were recently able to purchase a significant number of quality books from Iran, the new library will have the best open to the public collection of farsi books in Greece. We thank you kindly, as the purchase was done using funds donated by you and our other supporters through GlobalGiving. More importantly, thanks to you, we have secured the first year's rent! 


Please let us know if you want to get involved in any way in the designing of the new space! All ideas are welcome! 


In solidarity,

Ioanna Nisyriou & Nadir Noori

Founders of We Need Books

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