Following years of a devastating blockade in Gaza and a heart-wrenching attack on Israel, the Israeli government led a brutal campaign against the Gazan people that many scholars of ethnic cleansing are arguing amounts to an ongoing genocide. Over 11,000 Palestinians have already been killed, with the most frequently targeted age group being five-year-olds. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently called Gaza a "graveyard for children". Despite a siege allowing very little humanitarian aid into Gaza from elsewhere, Millie's Bookshelf has managed to secure a route for supplies from within the territory to an internally displaced tent camp. After a test run successfully delivered diapers and infant formula to 120 families in late November, we are ready to ramp up support with your help!
We believe in the transformative power of books: not just as educational tools or something to pass the time with, but as vessels to other worlds that are full of possibility. For the 36 million children currently uprooted from their homes, books can act as a critical lifeline during times of psychological stress. Unfortunately, many displaced children don’t have libraries, classroom bookshelves, or personal collections to tap into - instead, they live in book deserts with limited humanitarian investment into their education. We want to change that.
Through book distributions, the rehabilitation of school libraries in displaced communities, and even the installation of our own take on Little Free Libraries, Millie’s Bookshelf is working to mitigate book deserts around the world - one book at a time. And if you’re wondering who Millie is, she’s a nod to the fearless, curious bookworm of our childhood - Matilda! Thirty years after Roald Dahl brought Matilda to life, she continues to motivate millions of children worldwide to dream big, fight for what’s right, and never lose their sense of wonder.
The areas of Iraq that fell under ISIS occupation from 2014-2017 experienced horrific conflict, significant displacement, and for the Yazidi community - a full-scale genocide. In 2021, Millie's Bookshelf partnered with Nadia's Initiative to open the trilingual Hostler Library at Al Hateen High School. Thanks to the hard work of local implementing partner Sunrise NGO, an ISIS-ransacked classroom was given a second life as the first-ever school library in this disputed territory of Iraq! Thanks to the generous support of American Eagle Outfitters lifestyle brand Aerie and incredible Millie's supporters like you, the Hostler Library is now a beacon of hope for high school students in the region.