Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp

by Starfish Foundation
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp
Support a Library To Empower Refugees in Camp

Just last week a Starfish community volunteer made a donation of 26 books to the library. He had collected the books that belonged to his neighbours inside the camp and his family, in order to donate them to the library so they could be used by others.  "I am doing this donation to make these books useful" were his words when he gave them to us.

It is because of him, people like you and many more beautiful stories that keep happening with this project that is helping us to being able to continue and improve it.

During the “LittlebyLittle” campaign on GlobalGiving fundraising, our community of supporters surprised us again. It has been a huge success and we are eternally grateful for the support we have received; your donations have been matched!  Which doubled the amount donated. Thank you very much!

These contributions will help us improve the conditions of the library in the camp and continue to help our community volunteers in the library. The support will also go towards buying more of the books that are being requested by the camp residents that we don't have at the moment. E.g. dictionaries, Farsi and Somali books. And very importantly this helps us to maintain and improve our reading hour’s project!

Thank you very much from all the Starfish team from Lesvos.

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As an extension of our library project we recently started “reading hours” with children residing in the RIC Lesvos camp.

These storytelling sessions happen twice a week, and under the shade of our gazebo, children can switch off for a moment and listen to someone read tales and story books in their own language, or they can use the time to simply relax on the cushions provided. 

This week, the sessions have been held in Farsi and French, and some of the resident volunteers who work on our #SafeHands project kindly read aloud to everyone; Elnaz, a wonderful volunteer who works at Station 3 of our #SafeHands project read “The Man and the Fox” to the Farsi speaking children, who all started doing impersonations of the animals featured in the book. It has been brilliant to see each child interacting with the books: making up their own stories, reading along, and reenacting different parts of the tales with their friends.

Additionally, each session has seen new faces appear, with children telling their friends about it or bringing family members along to join in the fun. If you, or someone you know residing in the RIC Lesvos camp, are interested in bringing their children along, the reading hours happen on Tuesday and Thursday each week, starting at 3.00PM. 

With the increased demand for books, we are currently looking to receive Somali books for children and adults, more Farsi books for adults, and German language learning books. If you, or someone you know, can support with this- we would be grateful to discuss it further with you. You can reach us via email at

As always, we extended a sincere thank you to you all for following along with our library on Lesvos. The support we receive from you, alongside different organisations and partners makes it all possible. Thank you.

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After a mini sanitiser spill in our library box, our volunteers created a way to dry AND read the books at the same time (pictured). We loved it.

We wanted to reach out as, on Wednesday, we noted that donations to our library were being matched for a short period of time via the GlobalGiving July Bonus Day campaign. Your response was as generous as ever.

Your contributions will go towards buying new books, they will be used to purchase items such as phone cards and food vouchers for the resident volunteers who work at our library, and they will ensure that the project continues in the months to come.

In light of this, we wanted to send a big, big thank you to you all for your support: your contributions will mean that we can reach more people on Lesvos with books, educational materials and games.

Thank you, thank you from all of the Starfish team on Lesvos.

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Let us introduce you to some of our library team working in the RIC Lesvos camp: meet Habib, Mega, Sajad, and Arnold (pictured above).

The smooth running of our library project within the camp would not be possible without the support of our team of resident volunteers. Managing the library station each weekday, they ensure that access to books and learning materials are available to those living in the camp, and are on hand to help people register onto the library system, process library cards, and hand out book orders. 

With their support we have been able to register nearly 400 people onto our library system so far and give out 1275 books in the camp. The items being checked out range from novels, language learning books, poetry collections, DIY based books and everything in between. 

As we mentioned in our last report, the demand for Farsi (Persian) - English books remains high. The latest figures from UNHCR note that 70% of the camp’s population are from Afghanistan, and therefore, Farsi is one of the most widely spoken languages within RIC Lesvos. Due to this, we placed an order for 150 additional Farsi books.

As always, we send a massive thank you for your ongoing support, and if you all could share this project with friends and family to spread awareness of our library project on Lesvos, we would be incredibly grateful.

We will be in touch again soon with more updates! 

The Starfish team

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Dear friends,

It has been a few weeks since we launched a campaign to provide access to our multilingual library to all those living in Lesvos, Greece- and we thought we would send you all an update!

Firstly, on behalf of all of us here at Starfish Foundation, we want to say a massive thank you to you all for your generosity. Your contributions have helped us raise over €5,000 for the project, which means we are nearly at the halfway mark of our fundraising goal!

As many of you will know, we wanted to ensure that the books, learning materials, and games we have within our library would also be available to the roughly 6,700 people living in the main refugee camp on the island, whose freedom of movement is severely restricted. We were able to start the library service in the camp this week- with over 70 residents registering for library cards and ordering books, and we are in the process of ordering more Persian (Farsi) books as the demand is so high: this was all made possible thanks to the generous contributions you made to our GlobalGiving fundraiser.

To give you an idea of how the system works: our station in the camp is managed by volunteers who are on hand to explain the process and register people into the library system. Once the orders are placed, our Starfish team in Mytilene gets the books ready to bring into the camp the following day for pick up. The library station is open Monday-Friday, 10.30 am-2 pm.

We will continue to engage our networks and partners because the more money we raise means the more resources we can share with those living on Lesvos, and if you could also share the project with friends/family we would be incredibly grateful. Additionally, we will continue to update you as our library project develops on the ground here on Lesvos but if you have any questions about it please do reach out to us.

Sending heartfelt thanks to you all for your continued support and wishing you a lovely weekend.

The Starfish team 

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Organization Information

Starfish Foundation

Location: Mythimna, Lesvos - Greece
Project Leader:
Melinda McRostie
Mytilene, Lesvos Greece
$15,303 raised of $20,000 goal
169 donations
$4,697 to go
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