During and after conflict, humanitarian aid focuses on the essential needs of survivors and refugees: food, water, and shelter. However, the education of children is severely neglected, leading to "lost generations" and a youth made vulnerable to poverty and extremism. Kitabna has been finding readers in the lost generations of Syria and Palestine by writing, illustrating, and distributing bilingual Arabic-English children's books to displaced children in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and Northern Iraq. These books feature warm stories set in refugee camps that can help children affected by conflict and displacement learn to play, imagine, and enjoy books again, elements of childhood they have not had access to for years.
Your money will enable us to expand our outreach to Syrian and Palestinian refugees now entering Europe, specifically in the library set up in "The Jungle" camp in Calais, France. You can help us develop our accompanying training programme, empowering local youth workers, parents, and teachers to develop and deliver a creative curriculum addressing educational needs in an unintimidating way to displaced children with limited access to school and learning.
About the project
Kitabna (www.kitabna.org) was founded in September 2014 by writer and illustrator Helen Patuck when she visited the refugee camps of the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Seeing that Syrian refugees there had no access to schools or education, she wrote and illustrated stories set in the camps that were then translated into Arabic. These stories were written to create pride and dignity in the otherwise stigmatized refugee camp environment; they also aim to encourage learning and creativity in displacement.
With every book distrbution, we offer a training encompassing basic reading and storytelling activities. These have been successful and well-loved across Lebanon, and are delivered by Helen and CATT (Children's Accelerated Trauma Therapy) trainer, Maria Chambers. Maria specializes in arts activities with chidren, providing basic knowledge of PTSD and the benefits of child-led eduction with victims of post-conflict trauma.
Since September 2014, Kitabna has expanded it's outreach from the refugee camps of Lebanon's Beqaa Valley bordering Syria (Hermel, Barelias, El Marj, Arsal, Baalbek) and the Palestinian camp of Shatila in Beirut, to the wider Syrian, Palestinian, and Iraqi disapora displaced by IS in Iraqi Kurdistan. Our project is funded through donations and sales of our books to NGOs working in the Syrian diaspora. This has allowed us to grow since 2014, and we would now like to try crowdfunding to raise funds for our trainings and print runs in the Middle East.
Since Kitabna started in September 2014, we have distributed over 12,000 books. Alongside our independent distribution to informal tented refugee settlements in Lebanon, Turkey, Palestine, and Syria, Kitabna has sold books to international and national NGOs: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR); The International Rescue Committee (IRC); Najdeh Association; Al Jana mobile librairies for Palestinian camps in Beirut; World Vision; The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC); AVSI; The Red Cross (New Zealand); and the AMAR Foundation working in northern Iraq.
This autumn we will provide trainings alonside our books in Lebanon, Calais (France), Iraq and Jordan, and ask you to pledge funds today to help Kitabna cover our costs and print runs in Europe and the Middle East.
Kitabna now has 5 books in print...
You can read short descriptions of all titles, or support Kitabna by buying e-book version of our books at http://www.kitabna.org/our-books.html. You can also follow our latest news on our Facebook Page.
We always welcome commissions for new books and book orders. If you work with displaced children and would like to order our books, please do not hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And please, support us today!