We Need Books was founded in 2016 in response to the overwhelming refugee crisis. We have provided refugees in camps and shelters with hundreds of books in their native languages. This project will contribute to funding Athens' first multilingual library, which will also serve as an inclusive community center. It will provide the more than 400,000 refugees and migrants in Athens with access to educational resources, vocational training and networking opportunities.
Greece is in its 9th year of the economic crisis and has the highest unemployment rate in the EU. Despite not being a desirable destination for refugees, due to the lack of employment opportunities, Greece received 58,661 applications for asylum in 2017 and 66,969 in 2018. The vast majority of refugees in Athens don't know the Greek language, have very limited employment opportunities and are struggling to find a community and sense of purpose in their new home.
With the funding from his project, we will be able to afford a suitable space for our multicultural library, which will provide refugees in Athens with language, education and career development training. The more than 13,000 books we've collected in over 14 languages will keep the connection to maternal languages alive, while also fostering social inclusion and community. The programming is also being structured to offer paid work to those who finish the training courses provided.
This project will empower the most marginalized and vulnerable members of society in Athens by providing them with the skills, resources, and personal connections to help them survive and thrive in their new home. We Need Books is committed to bringing people of diverse backgrounds together to celebrate individual differences while fostering recognition of our shared human experience, creating a more inclusive community in the heart of Athens.