By Book Aid International
Published October 19, 2014
Addisu Aznato Alene, a refugee of 20 years, teaches English in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya.He usually uses books donated by Book Aid International of England.
“The books we get from Book Aid International inspire people and help them change their situation. Nobody wants to be in a refugee camp. By studying people can escape because they can then apply to get a place at a university. But we need a lot of help. No one wants to live off hand-outs from aid agencies. But we cannot escape without learning. Please help. We need many more books,” Addisu Aznato Alene says.
But Addisu Aznato Alene’s comments were made shortly before Windle Trust that collaborates with Book Aid opened a brand new library in the camp. More than 70% of the 7,000 books in the library are brand new and from Book Aid International.
Windle Trust says refugees of many nationalities use the new library. Among them are “refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, and Uganda. The library is fast becoming a place not only for study and reading, but also for the [various] nationalities to meet, thus contributing to peaceful co-existence, understanding of one another and building peace among communities.”
Most of the library visitors – from young children to mature students – have no access to books and reading material anywhere else in the camp and the new library provides a rare, reliable and accessible source of reading and learning materials.
Bishara Mwinyi Hamisi is a 14-year-old Somali girl who has been living in the camp since 2008. Bishara Mwinyi Hamisi is on a Windle Trust programme to support girls in the camp to complete their education; she wants to become a doctor because there is a terrible shortage of doctors in the camp, so she is studying hard and really values the new library.
“I have never used a library before in my life and I am enjoying this opportunity. I am happy that the library has taken the burden of buying books from my poor parents since they cannot afford to. I like reading a lot to improve my language skills”.