Apr 29, 2019

Progressing to the last phase of the project!

Dear Friend, 

Nearing the end of the project we are happy to inform you that our collaboration with Praktiker Hellas, the big home chainstore that has been with us -and the people whose life and property have been affected immensely- from the very beginning, providing goods  at a discounted price, has continued unceasingly. 

Moreover, we have finalized our collaboration on the field with Caritas Hellas, the Greek branch of the international Catholic organization, which have helped us connect with particular people whose needs have ranked very high up in the spectrum of needs and who have been beneficiaries of the Caritas psychological support program in the area.

However, this program has concluded in the end of March. We Need Books were the last to collaborate with the wonderful people of Caritas with whom future joint endeavors have been discussed already.

The 10 families referred to us by Caritas received 500 euro each in the form of a prepaid purchase card that is used for home equipment although it was more than obvious that the financial needs were much higher.

All the beneficiaries have provided us with the necessary documents proving their current situation. Photographs of the improvements made with the use of the prepaid cards have been asked to be sent to us as soon as the purchases are made. However, we were reluctant to ask for their own photographs -meaning faces- for reasons that can easily be understood.

Despite the program coming to an end, we are still looking to make good use of the remaining sum and are going back to double the assistance one of our first beneficiaries received – a family with 7 members- as well as two more families that have come to our attention and we feel we can accommodate. Should any amount remain from the grant, we will cover more needs of the ten aforementioned families.

Wish us all the best in this last phase!

Feb 4, 2019

A lot of hard work and good news from Athens!

Submission to participate to the IFLA conference
Submission to participate to the IFLA conference

Dear friends, 

We are so happy to share with you the latest update about our project!

Every week we see new people visiting the multicultural space we have created in the centre of the city, to read, work or study. In addition to the English language class, we now also have three Greek language classes for beginners and a German language class. There is demand for a fourth Greek class and a French class and we are hoping to start these within the next two weeks. We are still holding workshops for children and adults, which become more popular as we become better known to the public. Our workshops are free and open to everyone and offer a rare opportunity for Greeks to meet and socialise with refugees. As before, all classes and workshops are run by specialized volunteers. We are delighted to have 14 amazing volunteers working with us already and the team is about to grow even more! 

The holiday period was very busy and productive, as we held our first ever fundraising event, an arts and crafts bazaar which enabled us to raise over 1,000 euros for buying materials for the classes and the workshops! We also hosted a celebration for Afghan mothers and children, where we played, exchanged ideas and made new friends!  

All this time we have also been sending books to camps and shelters outside of Athens, usually in remote areas, were refugees live in isolation from the rest of society and in very harsh conditions. We are now able to do even more, as we have recently started a partnership with the Kalimat Foundation in the UAE, which will allow us to distribute 600 children's books in Arabic to different organisations so that they can also start their own little libraries.  

Furthermore, we are organising a panel discussion for March, entitled "Literature and empathy as tools for social integration" to raise awareness on how literature can help the local population to better understand and appreciate the different cultures and history of asylum seekers and migrants, to relate to their plight and to deconstruct previous notions that were built on stereotypes and fear of the "other".

We are only able to carry on with our work because of your generous and continuing support for which we are forever grateful! We are hoping to write to you soon with more exciting news! 

In solidarity,

Ioanna Nissiriou

Co-founder of We Need Books 

Jan 28, 2019

Project Update

Dear friend,

We are in the middle of our project and are on ongoing collaboration with the Municipality of Marathonas, the area where most destruction was caused in the blaze of July 2018. In particular, we are working with the head of the Welfare Department of the Municipality in terms of accepting referrals. We have made clear our aspiration to help families and/or individuals with most vulnerable backgrounds or that find it difficult to acquire full help from other sources.

We are continuing our collaboration with the Terre des Hommes NGO (the Greek branch) http://www.terredeshommes.org/ who proceed to referrals through their programme named ANAKTO -where beneficiaries from the area can find psychological support for free- within which they detect also practical needs. Not having meeting such needs in their scope, they direct them to us.

A similar process is about to start soon with Caritas Hellas https://www.caritas.org/where-caritas-work/europe/greece/

So far we are assessing the needs of 7 beneficiaries who we will cover essential needs for, through your generous funding. Among them is a family with 7 children whose kitchen has been destroyed. The mother is cooking in a simple camper cooker, which is not only difficult for such a large family, but also very dangerous. We have agreed to buy them a new stove by the end of this month, as this is what they listed as their primary need.

However, during our work we have also seen a number of requests that do not fulfill our criteria, mainly for medical support. It is heartbreaking to see so many families still struggling. 

In solidarity,

Mado Baboula

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