TOOLS FOR BRINGING LIBRARIES TO THE MOST VULNERABLE POPULATIONS
With the Ideas Box, a media center in a kit that can be implemented in many different contexts, or the Ideas Cube, a book-sized, autonomous server that brings the Internet to rural areas, LWB creates libraries where none exist.
Libraries play a fundamental role in equal rights : they are places of discovery, social class intermingling, cultural diversity and freedom. They are the foundation of a society open to the world, and also inspire the ability to imagine the future. LWB works every day in collaboration with other local actors (organizations, libraries, communities) to implement programs that strengthen their educational and cultural activities. By creating innovative methodologies and tools, we participate in reinventing the shape and missions of libraries, as well the way in which they are perceived and adopted by the most vulnerable populations.
When a catastrophe or conflict occurs, initial humanitarian aid naturally comes in the form of food, medical care, shelter and clothing. Once these basic needs have been met, it is essential for affected populations to reconnect with the rest of the world, fight boredom, and build up resiliency for the future. Since 2010 and our action in Haiti, we have intervened on the ground in humanitarian emergencies to better comprehend the intellectual dimensions – information, education, culture – of populations in danger. By taking on innovative tools like Ideas Box and KoomBook, we have created – together with our partners – prgrams in formal and informal education, protection and capcity strengthening of populations. Through a cross-sectional manner, we advocate an approach centered on the needs of the populations being served by our projects.
Some Areas Where We Work
ACCESS TO EDUCATION FOR STREET CHILDREN IN SENEGAL
LWB implemented an Ideas Box in the city of Ziguinchor to help integrate and to access education for street children and adolescents, as well as victims of child labor. Some of the activities organized include workshops for writing, reading, math, and grammar, but also for theatre, hip-hop, dance, and the arts. The project provides necessary schooling for over a hundred young boys and girls.
BUILDING PEACE THROUGH CULTURE IN COLOMBIA
Following the signature of the peace accord in 2016 between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC, LWB implemented 20 Ideas Box toolkits in demobilization and transition zones where ex-combatants laid down their arms in an effort to reintegrate into society. These libraries promote the peace process by creating meeting spaces, facilitating exchanges, and restoring trust among the affected communities.
IDEAS BOX AND IDEAS CUBE FOR ROHINGYA REFUGEES IN BANGLADESH
With the arrival of over 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, Cox’s Bazar is now the largest refugee settlement in the world. The Rohingya refugees, a Muslim minority that has been discriminated against for decades, live in a giant “city” where the literacy rate is less than 25%. In 2019, LWB installed ten Ideas Cube and five Ideas Box projects : three in the refugee camp and two others with host communities. The themes of social cohesion, strengthening peace, and social integration inform the accompanying workshops.
SYRIAN CRISIS : GIVING A VOICE TO REFUGEES
We intervene in humanitarian crises across the world to give refugees the means to inform and to educate themselves as well as to plan for their future. Since 2015, Ideas Box projects have been set up in camps for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. The 12 Ideas Box toolkits in the region have welcomed more than 10,000 visitors and have had a strong impact in protecting populations, in education, and in social cohesion. In these community centers, the libraries give a voice to those people who have been deprived of one for too long and allow them to begin the fundamental task of self-reconstruction.
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