Nov 6, 2018

Working on establishing bonds!

Our french language section
Our french language section

Dear friends,

In our last report we were happy to announce that we got given a space by the Municipality of Athens to temporarily use for our project. We got to work and very quickly set up a small multilingual library, with more than 3,500 books in more than 10 languages (Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, English, French, Greek, German etc). There is a space designed for children, filled with wonderful children's books and games, a space for showing films, for reading, for working, for socialising. Everyone keeps saying how cozy and warm it feels to be here which is an enormous reward for our efforts! Slowly but surely, we are establishing stronger bonds with the community.  

We have this space until April and we are truly making the most of it. We are offering English lessons to refugees twice a week and we will soon start giving Greek lessons, too. We have regular workshops for children and narrations of stories in different languages. We host social evenings with live music, where musicians from the camps play together with local musicians, we host film screenings for the unaccompanied minors who live in the shelters nearby and we arrange activity filled visits to the library for the Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi and Kurdish refugee children who are going to Greek school. The space is full every day and we couldn't be happier! 

We have recruited three more wonderful volunteers, Jenny, Juliette and Issa, so now we can have the space open all days of the week! We have also started cataloguing our collection, which is a slow process but a most important one! 

At the same time we are preparing for our next campaign. Knowing that this wonderful space is only available to us for just a few more months means that we must be ready to move to a permanent location this spring. We need to make sure that this vibrant community that is being built around the library has somewhere to go when this programme ends. 

Before I go back to work, I am sending you some photos of our cozy little library and a huge, huge thank you! If we have managed to get this far it's only because we have you standing by our side!

In solidarity,

Ioanna Nissiriou

Co-founder of We Need Books 

You might recognise Hala, second to the right!
You might recognise Hala, second to the right!
Nasroudin looking for children's books in Pashto
Nasroudin looking for children's books in Pashto
Nov 1, 2018

First steps!

Dear donors!

Our project to help rebuild the homes lost in the fire in Athens has taken off!

We have set up a schedule according to which we anticipate to deliver the expected results by the end of February.

October, as the first month of implementation, has been spent on preparation and research. More concretely, we have appointed a project manager, who has so far read the literature involved in the issue at hand, mainly reports, articles and what has been done so far by the government and other organizations in order to help those who suffered losses in the area and to identify possible gaps.

We are currently contacting the municipalities of the areas where most homes have been destroyed –wholly or partly- as well as groups of local citizens who have taken similar initiatives in an effort to explore the most opportune ways to take part in allocating the support offered by you. November, as month two of the project will focus on deciding the synergies that will ensure the better coordination of the funds and the decision on the methodology to be used in locating those homes that we can help in the most appropriate and effective way.

We have also scheduled for any legal matters included in the process to be cleared out during that same period.

With your continuous support you are enabling us to work efficiently and fulfill your expectations!

In solidarity,

Mado Baboula

Aug 10, 2018

Excited to share our first report!

Lending books to Hala outside the Museum
Lending books to Hala outside the Museum

Dear Donors!

We are so excited to share with you our news!

While we are looking at properties to permanently house our multilingual library, we are being temporarily housed in a building in the centre of Athens! We've been selected by the Municipality of Athens to participate in a pilot program which will allow us to create a small scale model of the cultural centre, starting in September!  

Even if it's only for six months, it's a dream come true! We will be able to house and properly catalogue approximately 3,000 books (1/4) of our collection, to support refugee and migrant children with their school homework, to help adults improve their Greek and English language skills and to regularly host social and cultural events that will bring locals, refugees and migrants together.  

More importantly, we will be able to offer a safe and friendly space for refugees to stay for as long as they like and read books in their own languages or the languages they are learning, something that is not available anywhere else in Athens! We know this will make a lot of people happy. People like Hala, 19, who can come with her little sisters and spend a whole day with us, and like Ali, 9, who can finally find comic books about the superheroes he so much admires!   

While we are getting ready to move into our new space, we are organising narrations for children in English, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and French, in collaboration with the Greek Forum of Refugees. The narrators are either refugees or migrants and the stories and the activities that follow the narration have been chosen to promote interculturalism. You can see the video of our fist narration here

In addition to that, we have paired up with the amazing ECHO Refugee Library! Together, our books and ourselves can reach more refugees and migrants around Athens, play recreational and educational games with the children while at the same time improving their communication skills in Greek and English. 

During this time we have also supplied Melissa Network -a fantastic organisation improving the lives of women- with over 20 books in Arabic and Farsi, and have donated to The HOPE Project -which runs shelters for unaccompanied minors- 60 books in Arabic, Farsi, English and Greek. We can't wait until the space is ready, so that they can come and use all of our collection! 

Each little step we take brings us closer to our goal: to empower refugees to build a new life in Athens. We are only able to do this because of your support! So, once again, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being a part of this project! 

In solidarity, 

 

Ioanna & Nadir

Founders of We Need Books

Ali from Afghanistan loves football & comic books!
Ali from Afghanistan loves football & comic books!
This will be our home for the next 6 months!
This will be our home for the next 6 months!

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