With over 68.5 million displaced people worldwide, the world is currently experiencing the most significant displacement crisis since WWII. Due in part to constrained international budgets, many refugees and displaced communities are faced with a severe lack of services and support.
This is particularly acute when it comes to education.
Currently, humanitarian actors allocate only 3.6% of their budgets to investments in formal and informal education programs. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable in these settings - research indicates that girls are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school than boys in conflict zones. In turn, this contributes to a high risk of sexual and gender-based violence, child marriage, and decreased lifetime earnings.
Compounding this lack of investment in educational infrastructure is the growing problem of book deserts. These areas are environments where it is difficult or virtually impossible for families to access reading resources. This has a knock-on effect in many areas. Early access to reading materials is critical in helping children to develop pre-literacy skills that assist with language acquisition and socio-emotional development. In addition, adults are often unable to access timely information about health issues or utilize informational resources about sensitive topics such as domestic violence, drug addiction, or female genital mutilation. Millie’s Bookshelf seeks to fill this gap.