Al Aqaba children participating in an exhibition
The Ibn Rushd Library has been central to the story of Al Aqaba Village since its establishment, and it has been a source of learning and joy to the village. Thousands of children from the village and neighboring areas have benefited from the library. Last October, Shafeqa joined as the new librarian, once again bringing the library to life. Shafeqa, however, sees things differently. She believes that the children bring the library to life and that, “Children are the spirit of the village, when they go to the library, the village becomes alive.”
Unfortunately, things changed earlier this year, as funding dried up. In June, the library was forced to close down, leaving children without a place to go, and leaving Shafeqa without a job. The Al Aqaba Women Association, which runs the library, sought support and funding from other organizations but was not successful.
Despite the lack of funding, Shafeqa has still been working with the children on a voluntary basis, and opening up the library when she can. She still managed to get the children enrolled in an exhibition in Tubas in June, organized by the Tamer Institute and the Ministry of Culture. In this exhibition, children presented the brilliant artwork they produced under the supervision of Shafeqa.
When it was open, the library had 30-40 children that visited regularly. Children from the Al Haq Kindergarten and the local school also visited the library regularly. These children miss going to the library. Here’s what they are saying:
- “As girls, we often don’t go out of our homes. The library was the only place we could come and do different activities.” – Lara, 13 years old
- “We are all so sad but I’m especially sad because I used to go to the library every day. I would borrow books when I was bored and could read. After the library closed, we don’t read books anymore.” – Bana, 13 years old.
- “I used to have a good time at the library. I would read books or do activities with Miss. Shafeqa. Because the library is closed, I no longer read stories or do activities.” – Ritaj, 8 years old
- “I loved going to the library and reading books there. I could summarize them. There was a reading week and I took part in it.” – Toleen, 12 years old
- “I hope the library will open again.” Noor, 13 years old
- “Currently, the library is closed and I have nothing to do except using my mobile.” – Yousef, 12 years old.
- “I love the library. I hope it will reopen so that we can enjoy it.” May, 13 years old.
Children are eagerly waiting for the library to re-open. Due to the tense situation in the village, with two houses facing demolition orders against them, the library can be an outlet for children to spend their time.
Thank you for supporting Ibn Rushd Library in the past. Shafeqa and the children of Al Aqaba really need your help to get the library reopened. Funds raised will go to:
- Pay the librarian’s salary,
- Replace old furniture such as tables and chairs
- Buy books for the library especially novels which are in demand by children
- Buy computers
- Buy a projector.
Please give generously to get the library reopened. The children in Al Aqaba would love to start visiting again, as you saw by their statements. Children everywhere deserve to have a library, and in Al Aqaba it is especially important as a place for children to gather and learn.Thank you for all that you do.
Children showcasing their work in the exhibition
Children having a good time at the exhibition
I love the library so much, hope it'll open -- May
I loved reading books in the library -- Toleen
We did activities in the library -- Lara
I hope the library will open again. -- Noor