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 contributes to funding Athens' first multilingual library, which also serves as an inclusive community center. It will help provide more than 400,000 refugees and migrants in Athens with access to educational resources, language classes and networking opportunities.
Greece is slowly emerging out of Europe's harshest 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 receives annually more than 50,000 applications for asylum. 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 the running of the space of our multilingual library, the only one in the city, that provides the local community in Athens with language, education and career development training. Our collection for children and adults of over 14,000 books in 29 languages keeps the connection to maternal languages alive, while also fostering social inclusion and community.
This project empowers 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. It is creating a more inclusive community in the heart of Athens.