IBBY Children in Crisis Fund

The IBBY Children in Crisis Fund provides support for children whose lives have been disrupted through war, civil disorder or natural disaster. The two main activities that are supported by the Fund are the therapeutic use of books and storytelling in the form of bibliotherapy, and the creation or replacement of collections of selected books that are appropriate to the situation.

For children whose lives have been disrupted by war, civil disorder or natural disasters in the region of Central Asia to North Africa, projects that provided books and promoted a culture of reading were funded by the Sharjah/IBBY Fund from 2012 to 2016.

We hope the programme will not only provide immediate support and help, but that it will also make a long term impact in the communities, thus supporting IBBY’s belief that every child has the right to become a reader. Based on predetermined criteria IBBY selects the communities where the projects will be funded. The basic criteria include: 

  • the existence of a short or long term situation of crisis in the lives of the children of the community; 
  • the availability of a strong, capable IBBY section either in the affected or a neighbouring country and/or the presence of a capable IBBY partner; 
  • the strength of the project and its possible short and long term impact in fulfilling IBBY’s goals; 
  • the availability of money.

Download the English information brochure here and the Spanish version of the information brochure here

To support the current IBBY Children in Crisis projects go to  DONATIONS.

IBBY Children in Crisis Fund Projects

El Salvador: Library of Dreams, La biblioteca de los sueños

El Salvador is the “peace-time” country with the highest per capita homicide rate in the world. Gangs are essentially determining the fate of children, which is why so many have elected to leave. Library of Dreams, La biblioteca de los sueños was created in one of the neighbourhoods where people live immersed in a climate of insecurity. We know that through reading, Salvadoran children can dream and make healthy positive choices for their future. The Library creates a space where children of El Salvador may develop an approach to literature, art and nature through reading and the experience of a harmonious encounter with nature such that through them they can arrive at a more dignified and just coexistence and to be empowered to create real change in their lives.


IBBY El Salvador has the opportunity to build a permanent library in Santa Domingo de Guzman, a semi-rural area with a primarily indigenous population. The local income in the area is below the national average and literacy rate is low. Award-winning Salvadorian author Jorge Argueta conceived and founded the Library of Dreams to increase literacy and promote a love of reading for children.

Currently housed in a temporary facility, the programme includes:

  • Read-in and lending library
  • 3X weekly read-aloud and story-telling events for children
  • Reading instruction for children
  • Safe place for children to go
  • Educator training, working with local schools

Read more about the Library of Dreams and its plans for a more secure future here.

Watch a small video from the library, celebrating the Day of the Dead with the children here.

USBBY has started a fundraising campaign to support the building of a new library. Click here to donate.

IBBY Appeal for Gaza 2021

IBBY has been supporting two children's libraries in the Gaza strip since 2008. One library was situated in the community of Beit Hanoun near the Israeli border, the other in the south in the town of Rafah, close to the border crossing with Egypt. The funding for the libraries came, to a great extent, from the great American children's author Katherine Paterson and her family foundation.

Children in Gaza are suffering.  As is always true in a war setting, children pay a terrible price. They have lost family and friends; they have had to leave their homes to find shelter – but there is no real shelter. Gaza is a tiny strip of land with no escape. And there is currently no news about the children from either library. Many of the children who used the Rafah library in the south and the Beit Hanoun library in the north found shelter in the UNRWA schools, but still their safety is precarious. Many schools were destroyed or heavily damaged in 2014 and they have not yet been fully repaired because of the blockade.

Our libraries are meant to be places of support and healing. But our IBBY librarians have been in the midst of this very intense and dangerous situation, and still are. We are happy to know that the librarians are safe although their own homes are damaged. The IBBY libraries are still standing, but badly damaged. Help IBBY to restore the libraries in Gaza. These children will need all our support and care as they once again rebuild their lives. Children in Gaza should be able to be in their libraries and in school enjoying a safe and dignified life. More information about the Gaza Libraries here. 

Lebanon: Explosion in Beirut

The enormous warehouse explosion on 4 August caused catastrophic damage throughout Beirut, affecting schools and libraries. IBBY Lebanon (LBBY), with its years of experience in helping traumatized children and re-building libraries, is working, together with UNESCO,  with local schools to help them rebuild their libraries, including repairing the libraries, providing new books and training the librarians. They are working with public schools that were not well equiped but are still standing, though these schools have many extra students from schools that were destroyed. The renovation work has proceeded rapidly and transformed the libraries into bright, welcoming rooms.

Photos of the schools and libraries just after the explosion, the renovation and a rebuilt library can be seen here and a full report on the project can be found in the IBBY Blog.

Iran: Libraries and Read with Me

IBBY began supporting Libraries and Read with Me in 2012, through the Sharjah/IBBY Fund. In 2014, remote villages in South Khorasan in Iran, deprived children were able to access to quality books through  the Read with Me project, with the support of the Sharjah/IBBY Fund. Selected books were purchased and packed in “book bags” to be sent to kindergartens to provide three months of reading, then the bags are exchanged between the kindergartens in the region. In 2016, the Sharjah/IBBY Fund funded a project to set up and maintain libraries in deprived sectors of ethnic and religious minorities, targeting poor and deprived Iranian children in the Sistan and Balouchestan provinces. The objective was to furnish children of minority religions and ethic groups living in remote and poor regions of Iran with appropriate and high quality books. In April 2019, Read with Me began a series of reading projects to meet the needs of children in areas of Iran affected by floods: Lorestan Province (KhorramAbad, Doroud, Poldokhtar) and Khuzestan Province (Gourieh): the project is summarised in the report, Read with Me in Flooded Regions. In 2020, in response to the closing of schools and kindergartens due to the coronavirus pandemic, Read with Me has set up a Read with Me at Home activities.

Afghanistan: Mobile Libraries

In Afghanistan, ASCHIANA and IBBY Afghanistan have provided books and storytelling to children in camps for Internally Displaced Persons in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-E-Sharif.  The children were encouraged to read by trained reading assistants, library assistants and storytellers and the project also provided reading materials through Mobile Libraries. The project was continued in 2014 and in 2015 was extended to Paktya. The focus of efforts in 2016 was on putting mobile libraries in the form of book cupboards in different locations in Kabul province. The IBBY Children in Crisis Fund provided further support for projects in Afghanistan in 2017. In 2017 and 2019 projects in Afghanistan received funding through the IBBY-Yamada Fund. In 2019and2020 ASCHIANA led a series of six book and reading culture workshops in Herat, Mazar and Kabul over a period of six months. The aim of the workshops was to build capacity and influence policy makers in Afghanistan to spread the culture of reading and establishment of libraries. Efforts in reading promotion continued in 2021 under a project with the goal of promoting reading amongst children in IDP camps in Kabul.

US/Mexican Border: IBBY-REFORMA Project

The organization REFORMA (an affiliate of the American Library Association) works with migrant children detained in the south western USA. It began soliciting children's books in Spanish to be delivered to the children in the detention centres in Texas and New Mexico and to the shelters and group homes around the country where these children are sent after being processed by the immigration services. In the second phase of the project they distributed backpacks that contained books as well as paper, pencils, erasers, crayons and a writing journal for children to use in their journey toward their destination. In 2015 the IBBY Foundation provided funding for REFORMA towards the acquisition of books for this project. A specially designed English/Spanish "library card" was added to the backpacks to introduce the children to the library system in the USA. The library card was re-issued in January 2019 and can be seen here. Inspired by the IBBY-Reforma project IBBY Canada has created a library card and has partnered with groups that welcome refugees to Canada to participate in a Readers and Refugees programme of storytelling for refugee children.

IBBY Children in Crisis Fund - Past Projects