With the support of the French Development Agency (AFD), BSF is currently implementing a vast project to support refugees, displaced persons, returnees, and hosts in three countries: Burundi, Iraq, and Lebanon. Although the contexts of intervention are different, the objectives are shared in order to:

• Strengthen the quality of and access to education and training programs.
• Contribute to the protection and psychosocial wellbeing of users, especially the youth.
• Promote social cohesion and peace building for exiled and host populations.

To do this, BSF and its local operational partners are deploying three Ideas Box in Lebanon, one in Iraq and nine in Burundi, aimed at various audiences. Workshops on rights awareness, teaching French as a foreign language (FLE) and education in relation to the school curricula of the three respective countries are regularly offered. To date, the project has benefited nearly 40,000 people: children and youth aged 8 to 25, adults, leaders and members of the communities involved, education and protection professionals, etc.

While there are more than 1.5 million displaced people living in Iraq, opportunities for young people under 30—who make up two thirds of the population—remain extremely limited. In partnership with Acted and Recoded, Libraries Without Borders initiated a project at the beginning of 2020 that aims to strengthen the skills and involvement of young people in the Governorate of Duhok in order to make them more employable. An Ideas Box will be established soon in a local Youth Center, allowing young people to gain access to a wide variety of resources and content that will help them improve creativity, self-confidence, and communication. It will also give them the opportunity to build project proposals that they would like to carry out. Training sessions will be offered to all young people, with special emphasis placed on acquiring digital skills, which have now become indispensable in most careers. Introductory computer programming and graphic design workshops will also be organized, and participants who wish to continue will be invited to apply to more long-term training programs.

In the governorship of Dohuk, Libraries Without Borders and the French Red Cross are working together to improve access to education for young children aged six to fourteen. Together, thanks to the installation of an Ideas Cube, they support the well-being of students in ten schools, organize awareness activities around self esteem, living together, and emotional expression. In July 2019 and in January 2020, we trained teams from the French Red Cross to use oru digital library, to plan and facilitate work so as to best respond to the psycho-social needs of young children.

The Bardarash camp has welcomed more than 12,000 displaced people from regions occupied by the Islamic State. With a consortium of NGOs, including Première Urgence International, Triangle Humanitaire, and Fondation France Libertés, Libraries Without Borders installed an Ideas Box in the camp’s community center, which is accessible for the entire population. This allows for the organization of educational, cultural and psychosocial activities, which can improve the individual and collective well-being of the displaced populations.

In the Hamam el Halil camp, home to several thousands of internally displaced persons who fled the violence and occupation of Mosul by the Islamic State, Libraries Without Borders and Oxfam Iraq have joined forces to improve community wellbeing and access to children’s education by providing psychosocial support. Supervised by a group of adult volunteers, participants can enjoy the Ideas Box and a secure space to rebuild, learn, express, play, and participate in cultural activities such as theater, photography or dance.

In April 2018, Libraries Without Borders and Human Appeal opened a women’s center in western Mosul, which hosts around 150 people a day, including 30 children. Often illiterate, these women are mostly family heads – their husbands and brothers having died in conflict – and for many suspected, rightly or wrongly, to be affiliated with the Islamic State. We regularly offer them Arabic and English lessons, so that they can in turn help their children secure an education, or computer and sewing classes so they can generate their own income. Adolescent girls can also participate in art therapy workshops, including painting. To make it easier for these women to attend classes, a children’s area is also available.



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