IBBY Children in Crisis: Gaza

This project, operated by the IBBY National Section of Palestine hosted by the MA'AN Development Centre in Ramallah, has created libraries in two community centres in Gaza, Palestine. In addition, bibliotherapy training is being given to the people working in the centres who, in turn, will train other bibliotherapists working throughout Gaza. The project is fully funded by the Paterson Family Private Foundation.

For the latest report about the project in Gaza, click here. The conditions at the libraries are better than the earlier reports from this year, but there is still much work to do with the children and their families.

The two community centres where IBBY has set up libraries were badly affected by the war at the beginning of the year.   The library in al-Shawka in Rafa was not very damaged by the bombardment, but the librarian lost five of her extended family, including two children who were members of the library.   IBBY will do its best to work hard and raise funds to re-build these shattered lives by using stories and books to help overcome their trauma.

images from the al'Ata'a library in Beit Hanoun

Training of librarians and volunteers in animation activities in children libraries

Gaza: 13/12 - 18/12/ 2008


The training was supposed to be implemented few months before it did.  IBBY Palestine (PBBY) was hoping the Israeli siege on Gaza would ease up and the training in bibliotherapy could take place in Cairo as originally planned.  However, when the situation deteriorated and the siege was tightened, PBBY decided to carry out a 5-day training (6 hours each day) in Gaza to promote library animation.  Despite the very difficult situation and the shortage of basic humanitarian needs, the training went well with great enthusiasm and commitment from the trainees and the trainers.

The aim was to train librarians/animators on activities for children that would combine non-formal education, creativity and entertainment, as well as stress-releasing activities.

PBBY opening the training to librarians/animators and volunteers who were working with children these marginalized areas.

The participants were selected according their interest and willingness to volunteer, as well having some experience in the field of library activities.

The training programme was agreed and the best available trainers in each field were invited to participate.


The training programme was distributed and the programme took place at the Al-Ata’Library in Beit Hanoun.

The topics included were:
1.    Classification: basic principles
2.    Drama: methods and activities
3.    Imaginative activities for children
4.    Reviewing and analyzing books
5.    How to attract the children to the library
6.    Anger-management techniques for the children
7.    Creative writing skills
8.    Story discussions
9.    Puppet making and use
10.   Storytelling: importance and methods


I Positive aspects:
The institutions were very happy to have their librarians and volunteers receive the training.  The participants cooperated positively and they fulfilled their task to the best of their abilities and the majority of them attended all the training days.

There was very positive cooperation on part of the Institute hosting the training. 

After the Israeli war on Gaza the PBBY librarians were contacted and they said that the training has helped them a lot in implementing activities with the children in drawing, writing and especially in drama activities.

II Difficulties

The training took place in Beit Hanoun in the north of Gaza, which is far away from other Institutes, especially those of the Al-Shawka area (near Rafah in the south) , and some participants had difficulty in reaching the venue.

Because the felt needed for puppet-making activities was not available because of the siege, wood and cardboard was used for the puppets.

The participants were from the following institutions:

Beit Hanoun area:

  • PBBY/Al-Ata’ Association: 2 Librarians + 3 volunteers
  • Taghreed Association: Librarian + 3 volunteers
  • Center for Women’s Programs: Librarian + 3 volunteers

Al-Shawka area:

  • PBBY/ Al-Shawka Women’s Club: 2 Librarians + 3 volunteers
  • Al-Iman Center: Librarian + 3 volunteers

Report by the Palestinian Section of IBBY (PBBY)
Ramallah – Palestine,  January 2009
Translated by Hadi Ruhayem

Images from the training in December 2008