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
Library workshop at OpenSpace
Library workshop at OpenSpace

Dear Supporters,

Even though the time has come to close our Library campaign, that doesn't mean our work will stop! Here's an overview of the Library's project for 2022.

2022 - Overview

Our Multilingual Library project continued to serve the residents of the Mavrovouni camp and the local community by providing a vast and diverse selection of books and materials. Last year, 835 books were borrowed, both from our OpenSpace Library in Mytilene and our pop-up library inside the camp. Farsi, English and Somali have been the languages that have been requested and sought out the most.

Camp Updates

Since the last days of December 2022, our project was forced to adapt to changing conditions in the camp. The Library container that we used for children’s recreational activities and as a support to the pop-up library was removed from the Education Zone by the owning organization in order to be repurposed elsewhere. Despite our best efforts, we were unable to secure another container in the Education Zone. While our impact has diminished due to this external factor, we promptly adapted by diversifying the activities carried out at our Games Station. Now, children’s board games, such as puzzles and memory cards, coloring and drawing materials, and children’s books, are available there and are actively used every day.

Moreover, in the last weeks of December, we started a partnership with Eurorelief and their staff working in the New Arrival Zone, to provide a selection of books (fiction and language learning) and recreational activities (such as children’s games, cards, dominos and the board game called Carrom) for the population housed there. They are currently carried out successfully and monitored weekly.

OpenSpace Updates

At the beginning of January 2023, the Parea Community Center kindly donated to us plenty of books and crafting materials, helping us expand our library collection and provide more material to our beneficiaries. We are immensely grateful for their support and contribution to the project.

Moreover, on the 24th of January, we organized and hosted an event at OpenSpace in celebration of International Day of Education, called “OpenDay at OpenSpace”. Many organizations and private schools participated and provided activities and workshops for both the local and refugee community. At this event, our Library Manager, Isabella, held a creative workshop with the aim of crafting bookmarks in different formats and different artistic techniques. The workshop was hugely successful and received great feedback from its participants! We were so excited to host such activities, and have the opportunity to engage and connect more with our community through the power of books and art.

2023 - Future Steps

While 2023 has only just begun, in these first two months around 270 books have already been borrowed.

Our efforts are always directed towards making sure that needs are fulfilled. Hence, in the new year we aim to use the remaining funding to expand our catalog and provide more alternatives as well as more language options, such as Amharic, for the different communities engaging with our project. The pop-up library inside the camp is open daily from 10am to 2pm and the OpenSpace library is also open from 10am to 6pm daily. People can come and choose any book they want from our vast and diverse selection of 7000 books in over 20 languages

We are grateful for your support which allows us to provide books and activities to people living in the camp as well as to people who come to OpenSpace. If you would like to keep up to date with the Library's project and our work in general, you can do so by following our social media accounts here:


We will now focus on our OpenBike Campaign for which we hope to have your support again. Your donations are extremely valuable to enable us to continue our work, which would not be possible without your generous contributions.

Sending our heartfelt thanks to you all.

The Starfish Team on Lesvos

Library activities at camp
Library activities at camp


Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Hello again! We just wanted to provide you all with a bit of an update on our part.


It seems that our lending library is now used more than ever before! Since our last report on July 4th, we have had 101 people registering as a member of our library, while 134 books have been lent out during that time. Our pop-up library in the centre of Mavrovouni camp is always busy in the morning with people wanting to get a book or play a game at our games station. Mainly we have a lot of children who collect in our area before going to their classes in schools in Mytilene. Their favourite game is Carrom, a typical Afghan game that involves pushing the coin with your fingers into the other team’s goal. 

Our library container inside the Education Hub in camp continues to serve as an activities area for children when they come out for a break between their classes. We have had 439 visits of children between the ages of 4 - 14 years old in the library container since we have opened it.

The container has also become a place for people to come hang out, look for books, read books, and get more information about language classes. Just today, we met a woman from Afghanistan, who has been borrowing books from our library ever since she arrived on the island. She reads books in both English and Persian, so that she can have an excellent level when she goes on to study. It turns out that she also loves painting and would like to find a space to do that. These are the moments when we reflect on the services we provide and adapt them to our beneficiaries needs and desires, because in the end, we do it all for them.

Another fun development is the Games Night at Openspace! Besides still welcoming everyone to play the games we have available, we are now hosting a special event every thursday. Our first event, Karaoke, was an incredible success. We all sang along to music in English, French, Persian, Linguala, Italian, Greek and many more. We also hosted a bingo night and are planning to do charades next week! Everyone is welcome to join, miming speaks all languages.

Lastly, we are always looking towards the future. We have noticed that people in quarantine are extra isolated from the rest of the population and don’t have access to our services. So what do we do? We will bring our services to them. We are currently planning how to give them access to books and games from inside the quarantine area all the while keeping our staff safe.

We are also expecting many changes here on the island with a new camp on the horizon which will inevitably drastically impact the lives of our beneficiaries and the way that we work. We are currently deliberating and planning upcoming scenarios. We will keep you updated on how this will affect the project.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Already 6 months have passed since the year started. Time to take stock of the progress.
We have changed the location of our mobile library, it is now located in an area with better visibility and more traffic. Also, we have installed a library in a container in the education hub (the school area in the camp) which includes lots of different activities for children.
Our container is filled with new board games, suitable for children and teenagers, and for some months, we organize activity times for the refugee children, which are crafts, reading, film viewing sessions, and various games. These moments have been a real success. Today 15 children attended!
Starfish has observed a clear increase in books being borrowed. Nearly 250 books have been lent out in 6 months. 1/3 in Farsi (language spoken in Afghanistan and Iran), 1/3 in English, and almost a quarter in Somali. Nearly 80% are adult books and about 20% are children’s books, most of them for under 12 years old. The most popular books are fiction and language learning books (mainly English, German and French). With over 7000 books in more than 20 languages, they are always available in our library for potential requests.
One of our innovations is our board game stations inside the camp at strategic points of life which are also a great success. People of all ages can come and play carrom, Uno, cards, ludo and so on.
Board game evenings, open to all, are also held every Thursday in our OpenSpace community hub in downtown Mytilene. This concept is very successful and attracts more and more people to various games. We are satisfied to observe a mix between refugees and local people, allowing us to create friendly time, integration, cultural sharing, and socializing.
With your involvement, the library project both in OpenSpace and in the camp continues to grow. These projects, with the daily efforts of our team, could not be as effective without your contribution.

Thank you from all of us

The Starfish Team

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Hello Friends!

We are over excited to share with you out new development, we finally set up and opened our library container. On Wednesday, we held an opening event to introduce and celebrate this new space to all the residents and people working in the camp. Last Thursday, we also held an event for the kids in our new library with games, books and snacks. Little to say that those events were a great success! Our library is in the education and school area, and offers over 1,000 books in more than 10 languages and lots of different games to the camp residents. We were very happy for the warm welcome and for the support from everyone! We will be open every week day: Monday to Friday for littlies and adults.

Starfish has also started to organise in our library every morning different activities for the children: such as reading, drawing, beading workshops and film sessions.

In addition we moved the popup mobile library to a more high-traffic area in the camp, which proved to be was a great success as we doubled the number of books borrowed this month.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

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!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Starfish Foundation

Location: Mytilene, Lesvos - Greece
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @starfishlesvos
Project Leader:
Melinda McRostie
Mytilene , Lesvos Greece

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?

Support another project run by Starfish Foundation that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


Woman Holding a Gift Card
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.