One Book per Child - Al Ayn Nablus

'One Book per Child' in Al Ayn Refugee camp, Nablus

This is a project I am currently working on. I have been collecting money from people in Norway in order to buy books to the refugee children in Al Ayn camp in Nablus, West Bank. Al Ayn is one of four refugee camps in Nablus and one of ninetheen refugee camps in the West Bank. There are approxomatly 16 000 people living in Al Ayn refugee camp.
I got this idea after teaching english at the UNRWA school in Al Ayn refugee camp and after walking around in the camp, meeting the children there, witnessing the conditions they are living under. The children living there are traumatised by war, violence and oppression. They have experienced the second intifada (2000-2006) and still endure frequent Israeli invasions at night-time. There is a lot of hopelessness, despear and little hope for a better future.
The unemployment rate in the camp is about 60%, halv of the population is living bellow the poverty line. The children are poor and don't have much toys to play with, nor proper playgrounds; the narrow, labyrinthin lanes between the small houses seen in the photographs are their playground. There are little resources available to them, though the UNRWA is providing the absolute necessities for the people living here.
The children don't have many books to read, and so I thought it would be a good idea to distribute one book per child (aged 7-12), considering the importance of books; as the value of the written story is to gain knowledge, expand imagination, stimulate curiosity and simply be a source of joy, inspiration and dreams.

Inspiration for the project:

Teaching english at UNRWA girls school in Al Ayn Refugee camp from February to June 2009. The children gave me so much and thought me about joy, devotion and hope despite hardship. Learning about the condition for the children growing up there. Also walking around in Al Ayn camp, vitnessing the situation and meeting the children.
Here are photos of some of the children I met on my way in Al Ayn camp. Not used to seeing international people they were very exited and happy when meeting me and trying to communicate with me.
Photos from Al Ayn Refugee camp, June 2009:

Photos from Al Ayn Refugee camp, December 2009:

Read more about the situation in Palestinian refugee camps: Life in a Refugee Camp

Choosing and buying books from a local bookstore in Nablus and Jenin:

In December 2009 I went to Nablus to buy childrens books and to distribute them in Al Ayn UNRWA school. I was cooperating with people from Project HOPE (Humanitarian Opportunities for Peace and Education) in Nablus with the process of choosing and distributing the books.


Giving the books to the children in UNRWA school, Al Ayn:

From the 28th to the 31st December 2009 I was distributing books to 3rd and 4th grade at the UNRWA girls school and boys school, Al Ayn. In June 2010 I will buy books to the children in 2nd, 5th and 6th grade.
When giving books to the children, they came up to me one by one, chose a book for themselves, and I wrote their name in it. In each of the books I had written a message from Norway, encourraging them to read the book well and then to share it with family and friends.
The process has been well documented in film and photos in order to encourage more donors in Norway.


Project Hope: article about 'One Book per Child'
Part 2 of the project: One Book per Child - Al Ayn & Balata, Nablus

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