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

2023 IBBY appeal to support temporary libraries in benefit of children affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

In February 2023, a series of violent earthquakes shook the south-east of Turkey and the neighbouring regions of Syria, affecting 15 million people (including more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees) in 11 Turkish provinces. Since then Turkey has witnessed a major domestic migration with nearly 2 million finding refuge to almost every region of the country. Many children have been left orphans. It took no longer than 4 days after the disaster for Çocuk ve Gençlik Yayınları Derneği–IBBY Turkey to start planning an initiative to support children in the affected areas.

IBBY Turkey is currently working on the establishment of a children's library located inside a prefabricated cultural centre under construction in the town of Nurdağı, in collaboration with the local authorities of Gaziantep, one of the most affected provinces. The opening of this library is scheduled for the end of May. In July, a similar library will open in Islahiye, a town located a few kilometres away from the Syrian border, now mainly made of tents and containers. These prefabricated libraries are key as they serve as temporary learning spaces until the education programme is resumed and children are able to return to school.

The planned prefabricated facilities offer substantial space to host a large amount of books, and will be equipped with tables and furniture for workshops. IBBY Turkey has already collected 5,000 books, which are currently being catalogued using the library coding system. The library collection already includes a small number audio-books, books in Braille for visually impaired children, as well as books in Arabic for refugees. Toys, board games and stationary kits are also needed.

In addition, IBBY Turkey is leading the necessary training of local volunteers to manage the libraries. 15 people are currently involved in these preliminary stages of the project, while a reading curriculum, including expressive art therapy, bibliotherapy and storytelling, is being prepared for the use of teachers and the librarians. This programme will be implemented not only in Gaziantep but also in all Turkish provinces that have received massive flows of displaced children. Teacher trainers of IBBY Turkey will collaborate actively with other NGOs to expand the reading program to other mobile or tent libraries set in refugee camps.

Meanwhile, another team of volunteering social workers specializing in psychological support are organising trauma-relief programmes. Throughout the year, over a dozen of children's writers and illustrators will also travel to these regions to work with children through reading and bibliotherapy activities.

The IBBY Children in Crisis Fund has embraced this important project that will benefit up to 1,500 children in Nurdağı and Islahiye. The number of benefiting children and librarians will increase as additional libraries are established and the reading curriculum is deployed across the country.

IBBY and its National Section in Turkey are therefore appealing to your generous contribution to support this much needed initiative. The funds collected will serve to purchase books (especially silent books, audio books and multi/bilingual books for refugees and visually impaired children); basic educational materials; furniture to set up warm and safe reading and studying environment in the libraries; stationary kits, including notebooks, pencils, crayons, etc. Funds will also be dedicated to designing psychosocial support programmes for children (including expressive art therapy, creative writing, drama, bibliotherapy and storytelling sessions); training of 10 regular local librarians appointed by Gaziantep Municipality as full-time staff; training of volunteers for daily reading activities; supporting the work of local librarians and teachers who volunteer to provide reading and art workshops; providing travel expenses and accommodation for writers and illustrators travelling to the provinces, etc.

2022 IBBY Appeal for ‘Our Library’ project in support of children affected by the floods in Pakistan

From June to October 2022, Pakistan has seen the worst floods in country's history, killing over 1,200 and causing catastrophic destruction. The tragic floods affected 60% of the country, with 325,000 houses destroyed, 735,000 livestock lost, 2 million acres of crop damaged and 33 million Pakistanis suffering, many of them children.

Educational facilities were also severely affected by the natural catastrophe. IBBY Pakistan and the Alif Laila Book Bus Society joined forces with the Indus Resource Center—an organization active in education committees of the Sindh province and a recognized supporter of girls’ education in the region—to reach out to flood-affected children. Through the Humara Kutubkhana (‘Our Library’) project, seven schools damaged by the floods in the district of Jamshoro (Sindh province) are being partially renovated. In each of them, a room is being habilitated into a learning corner and library to give children access to learning aids, educational games and story books, so as to address the colossal psychological trauma left by the natural disaster.

It will take months, if not years, for families to recover from the sheer scale of the devastation. The Humara Kutubkhana project progresses towards its objectives—one school library has already been delivered—more support is needed.

2022 IBBY Appeal for Funds to support Books for Ukrainian Children in Poland

A year after the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine, the armed conflict has brought death and material, and has forced 8 million Ukrainians—90% of them women and children—to flee their country, making this refugee wave the largest in Europe since World War II.

The Fundacja Powszechnego Czytania (Universal Reading Foundation) is a collective of around 20 Polish publishers and distributers based in Warsaw that is leading an effort to supply books to the Ukrainian refugee children in Poland. The Foundation has contact with Ukrainian publishers and has received printing files of picture books and story books. The Foundation is printing and distributing the books to local shelters, individuals and larger reception centres around the country. A report of their activities can be found here. If you would like to help this project please donate through the IBBY website or directly to: fpc.org.pl.

Another project that draws awareness of the terrible consequences of war is a poster campaign initiated by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany with the title, We Stand with Ukraine. The six posters are taken from the existing exhibition Hello Dear Enemy! Picture Books for Peace and Humanity. The Youth Library is offering these posters as digital files that can be reproduced for schools, libraries, cultural centres and others public places. Each of the six posters are available in English and Ukrainian, together with one bilingual information poster. The charge for these 13 posters is EUR 30 for the set. The proceeds will go to Fundacja Powszechnego Czytania, which will buy books directly from Ukrainian publishers and transport them to Poland for distribution. Please visit the website for more information: www.ijb.de/en/exhibitions.

IBBY is supporting these two worthwhile projects that will get books into children’s hands when they most need them. Please share these two worthwhile initiatives widely.

Thank you for your support.

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 a read-in and lending library, 3x weekly read-aloud and story-telling events for children, reading instruction for children, a safe place for children to go and educator training by working with local schools.

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

The libraries were destroyed in July 2014. In October 2014, IBBY launched an appeal for the reconstruction of IBBY’s Gaza libraries and again in 2017 and 2018 to keep the libraries in Gaza open and active. The library remains a meeting place for children of all ages and all social classes. Our libraries are meant to be places of support and healing. Children in Gaza should be able to be in their libraries and in school enjoying a safe and dignified life. 

Until the pandemic lockdown, the two IBBY libraries had managed to keep open, allowing the children of Gaza to enjoy a safe place where they could take refuge and learn, read, draw and play. The libraries were closed for almost five months, making it very difficult for the IBBY section to reach the children that needed support during this time. After long weeks of difficult lockdown, the library in al-Shawka Rafah was allowed to open to small groups of children who could visit to borrow and read books, as well as have a place to be able to write, draw and share their stories about their experience during the pandemic. More information about the Gaza libraries can be found here. 

Help IBBY to restore and support the libraries in Gaza.

Lebanon: Explosion in Beirut

The enormous warehouse explosion on 4 August 2020 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. A report from May 2022 can be found here.

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 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, before the takeover by the Taliban. The project established two community libraries in two different districts of Kabul province. One is in a local community centre where children and adults can collect and read books, the second library was built at one of the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, where the school is very far away from the community and the children do not have access to books.

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.

A full updated report on the situation of migrant children at the border and the IBBYREFORMA project was released in February 2023.

IBBY Children in Crisis Fund - Past Projects