Gaza Libraries - Activities 2008 and 2009

This project, operated by the IBBY National Section of Palestine hosted by the MA'AN Development Centre in Ramallah, has created libraries in two community centres in Gaza, Palestine. In addition, bibliotherapy training is being given to the people working in the centres who, in turn, will train other bibliotherapists working throughout Gaza. The project is fully funded by the Paterson Family Private Foundation.

The two community centres where IBBY has set up libraries were badly affected by the war at the beginning of the year.   The library in al-Shawka in Rafa was not very damaged by the bombardment, but the librarian lost five of her extended family, including two children who were members of the library.   IBBY will do its best to work hard and raise funds to re-build these shattered lives by using stories and books to help overcome their trauma.

Images from the al'Ata'a library in Beit Hanoun:


Project for children with special needs

Over the past few months many activities have been carried out in Gaza.  In particular a project for children with special needs was very successful. In addition, the librarians/ facilitators attended a workshop with the Gaza Community and Mental Health Programme.  The twice weekly workshops ran for a month and dealt with stress-release and how to detect traumatized children. During special sessions with an artist, several children wrote and illustrated their own stories.   Some of these stories have been included in a special book called Gardens of Hope, published by Kalimat in al Sharjah in the UAE. The book is bi-lingual and was distributed at the Sharjah Book Fair in November. At the beginning of October Brazilian writer and journalist Luciana Savaget joined a joint programme by PBBY and the Tamer Institute.

These are pictures of work with young people with Special Needs, in this session the participants were deaf and dumb.  The course was "Creative writing and analyzing a story" and took place at the Palestinian Red Cross Centre in Gaza.



Activities in al-Shawka library in Rafah Gaza, some of which took place in the open air:


Training of librarians and volunteers in animation activities in children libraries: 13 to 18 December 2008

Originally planned for Cairo, when the Israeli siege tightened, IBBY Palestine  decided to carry out a 5-day training (6 hours each day) in Gaza to promote library animation.  Despite the very difficult situation and the shortage of basic humanitarian needs, the training went well with great enthusiasm and commitment from the trainees and the trainers. 

The aim was to train librarians/animators in activities for children that would combine non-formal education, creativity and entertainment, as well as stress-releasing activities. PBBY opened the training to librarians/animators and volunteers who were working with children these marginalized areas. The participants were selected according their interest and willingness to volunteer, as well having some experience in the field of library activities. There were 7 librarians and 15 volunteers from Beit Hanoun and Al-Shawka.

The training programme was distributed and the programme took place at the Al-Ata’Library in Beit Hanoun. The topics included were:  classification: basic principles, drama: methods and activities, imaginative activities for children, reviewing and analyzing books, how to attract the children to the library, anger-management techniques for the children, creative writing skills, story discussions, puppet making and use, storytelling: importance and methods

The institutions were very happy to have their librarians and volunteers receive the training.  The participants cooperated positively and they fulfilled their task to the best of their abilities and the majority of them attended all the training days. There was very positive cooperation on part of the Institute hosting the training. After the Israeli war on Gaza the PBBY librarians were contacted and they said that the training has helped them a lot in implementing activities with the children in drawing, writing and especially in drama activities. However, the training took place in Beit Hanoun in the north of Gaza, which is far away from other Institutes, especially those of the Al-Shawka area (near Rafah in the south), and some participants had difficulty in reaching the venue. 

Report by the Palestinian Section of IBBY (PBBY), Ramallah – Palestine,  January 2009. Translated by Hadi Ruhayem

Images from the training in December 2008: