The ability to read, write and access information helps sustain intellectual stimulation to rebuild one’s sense of self and re-establish social links, as well as build resilience during and post-crisis. Yet while there is no doubt among international humanitarian responses about the necessity to fulfill basic needs like food and shelter, the question is never raised regarding possible means of communication, or access to books and information for displaced persons in post-disaster zones.
This desire to promote commitment to the intellectual dimension of human beings in humanitarian crises inspired Libraries Without Borders to launch the international call to action, “The Urgency of Reading,” in 2012.
THE CHALLENGE: Acknowledgement of the intellectual dimension of human beings in humanitarian crises as a priority for emergency responses.
The campaign is supported by more than one hundred writers of international renown, including Toni Morrison and Doris Lessing who are among eight Nobel Prize winners. It has also been relayed to international organizations and governments to push for placing access to information and books at the heart of the international humanitarian agenda.
In July 2018, 192 United Nations member states – excluding the United States – approved the creation of a Global Compact on Migration, which lists a set of commitments to improve protection and access to education services for refugees and migrants.