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Portable Library for Refugee Camps Fits on 2 Pallets, Assembles in 18 Minutes

This is the Ideas Box. It consists of desks, computers, WiFi, books, and even cushions to sit on. It's an entire library that fits inside containers on 2 shipping pallets. If you want to set up a library in a refugee camp, then the Ideas Box is the way to do it.

(Images: Librarians Without Borders)

Librairans Without Borders, a non-profit organization that brings library services to remote and impoverished areas of the world, conceived of the project. When it tried to bring library services to Haiti after a terrible earthquake in 2010, it discovered a need for a reliable, organized, and portable library system. In FastCoExist, Adele Peters describes the implementation of an Ideas Box in Burundi:

Like a regular library, the Ideas Box issues library cards, which users swipe every time they check out a book or use one of the online resources. The organization can track how much each resource is used. So far, over 3,000 refugees have signed up for cards. A small local team runs the library, after three months of assistance from Libraries Without Borders staff.

Beyond educational support for students and training for adults, the centers also have an emphasis on creativity. Refugees, or someone recovering from a natural disaster, can use cameras, art supplies, and other tools to help fight boredom and alienation. In one of the Burundi camps, a 20-year-old refugee organized a poetry slam and started a camp newspaper. Someone else organized a sustainable development fair.


(Video Link)

-via Carmen Jade


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