Children in Crisis
The IBBY Children in Crisis Fund provides support for children whose lives have been disrupted through war, civil disorder or natural disaster. The two main activities that are supported by the Fund are the therapeutic use of books and storytelling in the form of bibliotherapy, and the creation or replacement of collections of selected books that are appropriate to the situation.
We hope the programme will not only provide immediate support and help, but that it will also make a long term impact in the communities, thus supporting IBBY’s belief that every child has the right to become a reader. Based on predetermined criteria IBBY selects the communities where the projects will be funded. The basic criteria include:
- the existence of a short or long term situation of crisis in the lives of the children of the community;
- the availability of a strong, capable IBBY section either in the affected or a neighbouring country and/or the presence of a capable IBBY partner;
- the strength of the project and its possible short and long term impact in fulfilling IBBY’s goals;
- the availability of money.
The Sharjah / IBBY Fund was launched in April 2012 as a joint effort of UAEBBY and IBBY with the support of Sharjah government. It funds projects that promote a culture of reading and provide books for children whose lives have been disrupted by war, civil disorder or natural disasters in the region of Central Asia to North Africa (CANA).
To date, projects have been funded in Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine and Tunisia. The Fund also supported the regional meeting of CANA members in Sharjah in 2013 and enabled CANA members to attend the IBBY World Congresses in London in 2012, Mexico City in 2014 and Auckland 2016.
IBBY Children in Crisis Fund Projects
Gaza, Palestine: IBBY Libraries
IBBY has been supporting two children’s libraries in the Gaza Strip since 2008. One library was situated in the northern community of Beit Hanoun near the Israeli border, the other in the south in the town of Rafah, close to the border crossing with Egypt. The funding for the libraries came, to a great extent, from the great American children’s author Katherine Paterson and her family foundation. These libraries were destroyed in July 2014. In October 2014 IBBY launched an ppeal for the reconstruction of IBBY’s Gaza libraries: IBBY Appeal for Gaza 2014. In April 2017 IBBY launched a new appeal for funds to keep the libraries in Gaza open and active: IBBY Appeal for Gaza 2017.
The Gaza libraries also receive funding for education, storytelling and recreation activities from the Sharjah/IBBY Fund.
El Salvador is the “peace-time” country with the highest per capita homicide rate in the world. Gangs are essentially determining the fate of children, which is why so many have elected to leave. Library of Dreams was created in one of the neighbourhoods where people live immersed in a climate of insecurity. We know that through reading, Salvadoran children can dream and make healthy positive choices for their future. The Library creates a space where children of El Salvador may develop an approach to literature, art and nature through reading and the experience of a harmonious encounter with nature such that through them they can arrive at a more dignified and just coexistence and to be empowered to create real change in their lives. Watch the video of the opening of the Library of Dreams here
All Libraries are Libraries of Dreams by Jorge Tetl Argueta Library Laureate of the San Francisco Public Library 2017. Read here
US/Mexican Border: IBBY-REFORMA Project
The organization REFORMA works with migrant children detained in the south western USA. It began soliciting children's books in Spanish to be delivered to the children in the detention centres in Texas and New Mexico and to the shelters and group homes around the country where these children are sent after being processed by the immigration services. In the second phase of the project they will distribute backpacks that will contain books as well as paper, pencils, erasers, crayons and a writing journal for children to use in their journey toward their destination. In 2015 the IBBY Foundation provided funding for REFORMA towards the acquisition of books for this project. A specially designed English/Spanish library card was added to the backpacks to introduce the children to the library system in the USA.
The artist Alfonso Ruano has donated all the illustrations from his highly regarded book, Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds, to support the IBBY/REFORMA Children in Crisis Project. The auction launches Friday, 20 January 2017 and runs until the close of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair on Wednesday, 5 April 2017 18:30 CET. See IBBY Auction.
Ecuador: Rebuilding Libraries 2016
In April 2016, an earthquake with a force of 7.8 on the Richter scale destroyed the infrastructure of many cities and towns in the Ecuadorean coastal provinces of Esmeraldas and Manabí. 655 people died and over 4600 were physically injured and the psychological trauma, especially for the survivors, especially young people, was significant. IBBY-Ecuador received approval from the IBBY Children in Crisis Fund for a project to provide emotional support and active listening to the children in the context of reading and libraries. It includes re-stocking libraries as well as training volunteers to encourage reading and storytelling. The activities target the county of Muisne in Esmeraldas and Manta in the Manabí province with a focus on children in the ages of 5 to 14.
Lebanon: Syrian Children 2013 to 2016
IBBY Lebanon has brought relief to Syrian children caught up in the war and now refugees in Lebanon. The therapeutic programme used is called bibliotherapy and it was developed for Lebanese children after the Lebanese civil war and the war with Israel. The programme uses books, theatre and other methods to help children understand their own feelings, express them and recognise the feelings of others.
Gaza, Palestine: IBBY Libraries 2014
IBBY has been supporting two children’s libraries in the Gaza Strip since 2008. One library was situated in the northern community of Beit Hanoun near the Israeli border, the other in the south in the town of Rafah, close to the border crossing with Egypt. The funding for the libraries came, to a great extent, from the great American children’s author Katherine Paterson and her family foundation. These libraries were destroyed in July 2014. In October 2014 IBBY launched an appeal for the reconstruction of IBBY’s Gaza libraries. To date, USD 35,000 has been donated for the reconstruction of the Gaza libraries.
The Gaza libraries also receive funding for education, storytelling and recreation activities from the Sharjah/IBBY Fund.
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami 2011
The eastern coast of Japan was devastated by the worst natural disaster ever to hit Japan. On 11 March 2011 an earthquake of 8.9 magnitude struck the seabed east of Japan. This caused a huge 10 metre tsunami to crash into the eastern coast, killing thousands of people and sweeping away boats, cars, schools and homes and damaging the nuclear power stations in the region. All of which led to widespread evacuations. IBBY will work with the 3.11 Ehon Project in Iwate to give the children of the area relief through books and reading. The project will take books, give readings and storytelling activities, as well as train more volunteers to work with the children.
Pakistan Floods 2010
Pakistan was hit by the worst floods in its 63 year history. 20 million people were affected; of those 9 million were children. 11,000 schools were swept away or been rendered unusable. IBBY Pakistan – Alif Laila will worked with NGOs/Government agencies working in all five provinces of the country to distribute library kits for the children. A total of USD 3,500 was raised and a further USD 15,000 was donated by the Katherine Paterson Family Foundation.
Haiti Earthquake 2010
After a devastating earthquake shook and destroyed the lives of thousands in Haiti, IBBY International immediately launched an appeal to collect funds for Haiti. IBBY Haiti identified the camps in which they could work and started working in some of the smaller ones. One of the printing presses that had not been damaged has been able to re-print some of the books needed for the bibliotherapy sessions. The team went into the camps to provide, through bibliotherapy, some relief for the children. USD 42,000 was raised for the Haiti project.
Chile Earthquake 2010
The earthquake in Chile in early 2010 caused widespread physical and emotional damage. IBBY Chile and Corporación Lectura Viva [Reading Promotion Corporation] collaborated in the Palabras que acompañan [Words to Keep you Company] programme to deliver books and reading sessions to help relieve trauma in children and young people who are facing the loss of their loved ones and their homes, who have been injured or who have been forced to move in with friends and family.
Haiti Hurricane 2009
The healing power of storytelling and books: natural and environmental disasters in Haiti and their psychological effect on children. Following the tragic storms that hit Haiti and the collapse of a school that killed many children, IBBY Haiti embarked on a project to bring relief to the children through storytelling and bibliotherapy.
Gaza, Palestine War 2008-
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.
Lebanon War 2007
Conflict Management for War Traumatized Children. This programme is organized by IBBY Lebanon and is currently running in schools in Southern Lebanon using puppetry, theatre, storytelling and books to explore issues of anger and alternative methods of conflict resolution.
Colombia Civil War 2008-2010
This project comprises reading clubs for children and young people who are victims of armed conflict in Colombia. Operated by the Banco del Libro (IBBY Venezuela) and Asolectura in Colombia, the project will involve 1,000 street children, who have been displaced by the ongoing civil conflict, in reading clubs. Selected books will be available through a system of mobile libraries. An important component of this project will be a phase of rigorous assessment at the end of the period, aimed at refining IBBY’s work in bibliotherapy.
Afghanistan War 2009
Children's Literature: Bridges between Nations: In Afghanistan, childhood and the rights of children are not fully recognised. As a result there is little quality children's book publishing and no tradition of reading for pleasure. This project was an attempt to bring together local and international expertise to the goal of bringing children and books together in a country that has faced significant disruption.
China Earthquake 2008
Reading makes us stronger: books as a response to the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province
Peru Earthquake 2007
Bibliotherapy in emergencies: responses to the aftermath of the earthquake in the region south-southeast of Lima
Indonesia Tsunami 2005-2009
A continuation of the work started following the disastrous tsunami at the end of 2004. The work included working in Padang helping children traumatised by the earthquake that devastated their city and implementation of motorbike libraries in areas with difficult access.
Sharjah / IBBY Fund Projects
In Afghanistan, the Sharjah Fund has provided books and storytelling to children in camps for Internally Displaced Persons in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-E-Sharif. The children were encouraged to read by trained reading assistants, library assistants and storytellers and the project also provided reading materials through mobile libraries. The project was continued in 2014 and in 2015 was extended to Paktya. The focus of efforts in 2016 was on putting mobile libraries in the form of book cupboards in different locations in Kabul province.
IBBY has been supporting two children's libraries in the Gaza strip since 2008, al Shawka and Beit Hanoun through Sharjah/IBBY Fund and the IBBY Children in Crisis Appeal. Sharjah/IBBY funding was provided for educational and reading activities in two libraries in Palestine for the benefit of over 1000 children, including young adults and children with special needs. The two libraries, located in two of the most damaged areas of Gaza (Beit Hanoun and Al-Shawka) were also upgraded with the support of the Fund.
The Sharjah/IBBY Fund has supported two projects in Iran. In 2016 financing was approved for a project to set up and maintain libraries in deprived sectors of ethnic and religious minorities, targeting poor and deprived Iranian children in the Sistan and Balouchestan provinces. The objective is to furnish children of minority religions and ethic groups living in remote and poor regions of Iran with appropriate and high quality books.
In 2014 remote villages in South Khorasan in Iran, deprived children were able to access to quality books through the “Read with Me” project. Selected books were purchased and packed in “book bags” to be sent to kindergartens to provide three months of reading, then the bags are exchanged between the kindergartens in the region. The project also provided training for teachers, tutors and librarians.
A project in Lebanon “Tell me a Story” hosted reading sessions and workshops at health clinics to encourage parents of small children to establish storytelling and books as part of their routine at home. The families and children had no access to books in their community, therefore the second part of the project was the establishment of mobile libraries at the health clinics.
In Pakistan, the Fund supported the creation of a countrywide network of small community libraries. The project included a two-day conference on issues involved in setting up community libraries and bibliotherapy as well as travel to India to learn about similar projects and ways of creating low-cost quality books in regional languages. A second stage involved awarding small grants and book bundles to selected community libraries.
In 2014, funding from the Sharjah/IBBY Fund was obtained for a project to distribute 8 boxes with reading material and audio books for disadvantaged children and children with special needs at schools and centres in deprived areas. The idea of a “box” was as a kind of treasure chest of books, to bring the books to the children in a collection that could be moved from site to site. Four boxes each with 300 books were prepared for children in schools in deprived areas and two sets of 2 boxes with a selection of 50 books each were prepared for a centre for children with special needs and centre for blind and partially sighted children.