Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp

by Starfish Foundation
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp

In our office ‘OpenSpace’ Starfish Foundation has started an animated board games nights open to all: refugees, volunteers and locals. Once a week for two hours.  So far more than twenty people have come together to play and have fun. This is an opportunity for everyone to meet and erase cultural and linguistic barriers around simple games: Uno, cards, chess, dominoes, etc.

A big thank you to #Ravensburger who kindly donated board games. They sent us many board games for kids and adults. Those will be very useful during our games night every Thursday evening from 5:30PM to 7.30PM. 

We have discovered a Persian Bookstore in Germany called Forough Book. Now we can order more books in Farsi (language spoken mainly in Afghanistan and Iran) and they will give us some donations. A big thank you also to the NGOs Eudemonia and Eurorelief who have recently given us many books and thus participate to the continuity of our activities on the field. We have also started exchanging books with the camp schools to help with language learning for the children and adults attending classes in the camps.
Starfish has a new volunteer in the OpenSpace library who was once a refugee. He speaks many languages including Farsi, which will greatly facilitate the reception and processing of Farsi books. He will also help organize a more conducive space for reading and relaxation.

Finally, the last 2 months have been very positive. More than a hundred books have been lent out. A large majority of them are books for adults in Farsi, English and Arabic and many of them are also German and English learning books as well as fiction books. 

We are still actively looking for Somali books as the Somali population in the camp is growing and the demand is increasing.

Thank you again for your support!

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Our Multilingual Library has continued to operate on Lesvos for refugees and locals despite the challenge presented by harsh winter weather. The last month has brought incredibly cold and rainy winter weather to Lesvos, but our project continued to open at OpenSpace in Mytilene and in Mavrovouni camp on most days. At the same time, it has been an exciting time for the project as it will soon benefit from a container inside Mavrovouni Camp whilst we have also received numerous book donations.

Our mobile library services will be housed in a container located inside the new Education Hub of the camp and will provide multiple benefits for all. It will also serve as a new permanent site for the mobile part of the project providing greater flexibility and the possibility to deliver more activities for children and adults. We will keep you updated once we begin operating from the new home. 

We were also delighted to receive a number of fantastic donations of new books over the past few weeks which will help maintain stock for 2022. With thanks to Book Aid International, Refugees4Refugees, The School of Peace and to a local contact who sourced books from the French Institute in Greece. We are still in urgent need of Somali and Farsi books so if you, or anyone you know, can support. Please do get in touch at :

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The library continues to expand and reach more people than ever! The community schools within the camp are one of the fundamental parts that ensure educational needs of refugee children, youth and adults are met. We are happy to announce that Starfish has also begun supporting Star School, another established community school, that will be using our books to teach English inside Mavrovouni camp.  

This school will select 30 different books each month for students to read in class. Organisational support for the initiatives of camp residents is essential  to be recognised and have the resources to improve and move forward. Supporting these kinds of camp projects is something we are very proud of!

In addition, we recently witnessed another beautiful story during the day to day running of our Library project. One week ago, a lovely resident family that were passing through our library stand inside the camp donated a selection of  books and games for us. They told us that they were leaving the camp, they did not want to throw these amazing books away and wanted other refugees to benefit from them. We were really surprised and grateful for their generosity. Take a look at the photo below of two of the donated books, atlas of animals and food. 

Thank you for making these stories possible! With your support we are able to have a wide variety of books that allow us to cover the different educational needs of the camp community and contribute to the learning opportunities of many individuals. Your contributions mean that we can reach more people inside the camp with books, educational materials and games.

Thank you so much!

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Just last week a Starfish community volunteer made a donation of 26 books to the library. He had collected the books that belonged to his neighbours inside the camp and his family, in order to donate them to the library so they could be used by others.  "I am doing this donation to make these books useful" were his words when he gave them to us.

It is because of him, people like you and many more beautiful stories that keep happening with this project that is helping us to being able to continue and improve it.

During the “LittlebyLittle” campaign on GlobalGiving fundraising, our community of supporters surprised us again. It has been a huge success and we are eternally grateful for the support we have received; your donations have been matched!  Which doubled the amount donated. Thank you very much!

These contributions will help us improve the conditions of the library in the camp and continue to help our community volunteers in the library. The support will also go towards buying more of the books that are being requested by the camp residents that we don't have at the moment. E.g. dictionaries, Farsi and Somali books. And very importantly this helps us to maintain and improve our reading hour’s project!

Thank you very much from all the Starfish team from Lesvos.

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As an extension of our library project we recently started “reading hours” with children residing in the RIC Lesvos camp.

These storytelling sessions happen twice a week, and under the shade of our gazebo, children can switch off for a moment and listen to someone read tales and story books in their own language, or they can use the time to simply relax on the cushions provided. 

This week, the sessions have been held in Farsi and French, and some of the resident volunteers who work on our #SafeHands project kindly read aloud to everyone; Elnaz, a wonderful volunteer who works at Station 3 of our #SafeHands project read “The Man and the Fox” to the Farsi speaking children, who all started doing impersonations of the animals featured in the book. It has been brilliant to see each child interacting with the books: making up their own stories, reading along, and reenacting different parts of the tales with their friends.

Additionally, each session has seen new faces appear, with children telling their friends about it or bringing family members along to join in the fun. If you, or someone you know residing in the RIC Lesvos camp, are interested in bringing their children along, the reading hours happen on Tuesday and Thursday each week, starting at 3.00PM. 

With the increased demand for books, we are currently looking to receive Somali books for children and adults, more Farsi books for adults, and German language learning books. If you, or someone you know, can support with this- we would be grateful to discuss it further with you. You can reach us via email at

As always, we extended a sincere thank you to you all for following along with our library on Lesvos. The support we receive from you, alongside different organisations and partners makes it all possible. Thank you.

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Organization Information

Starfish Foundation

Location: Mythimna, Lesvos - Greece
Project Leader:
Melinda McRostie
Mytilene, Lesvos Greece
$14,847 raised of $20,000 goal
161 donations
$5,153 to go
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