You can help establish these 2 new children's libraries. DONATE HERE
Children are the first beneficiaries of our libraries. Families and communities follow.
by Laurie Salameh, Co-founder & Palestinian Director
Season’s greetings from your friends in Palestine!
As the weather turns cooler and the rainy season is upon us, families in Palestine begin to shift their time from working under the sun picking olives to sitting indoors around a small propane or electric heater, sharing stories between neighbors and relatives, eating chestnuts and sipping sahlab, a delicious sweetened milk drink. The Palestinian culture is family-focused and community-centric, and each change of season brings different opportunities for people to gather.
Winter here is a time spent mostly indoors, as the infrastructure isn’t always equipped to handle to rain and the cold, but you can be sure that thousands of people will gather in the city centers for the annual tree-lighting ceremonies to mark the beginning of the Christmas season, which, while observed only by Christians, is honored by many.
At Seraj, we are celebrating the season with a spirit of thankfulness and hopefulness. In the past two years we have grown in size to meet the needs of two communities new to Seraj. In the village of Kufor Aqab near Jerusalem, we are establishing a national storytelling center alongside a children’s library, and in the village of Birzeit we are beginning work on establishing a cultural center alongside our library and computer lab. We are thankful for each of you who has joined us in this dream and are hopeful we will continue to raise support to see these new centers active and thriving through all kinds of activities.
During a time when many people in the West are debating the current role of the library in a society wherein information is readily and widely available, Seraj is working in an environment that that clearly demonstrates the importance of libraries in rural villages and refugee camps. Seraj plays an active role in communities and families, by providing safe and beautiful spaces for children to learn and play, by providing access to information in an environment that is full of misinformation, and by implementing activities that allow people space to relax, to have fun, and to push against the despair that falls so heavily in our communities.
As you know, Seraj means “lantern” or “light” in Arabic, and we fully believe in our role as lighting the darkness here in Palestine, one library at a time, one child at a time, one community at a time.
We hope you will join us on our journey of establishing, developing and growing our new centers here in Palestine, where we will bring lightness and joy to children, families and communities that need it.
Our 2019 Storytelling Marathon is a good example of the children’s activities supported by our libraries. Click picture for 3 minute video.
One Million Dollars. A Huge Marker in our short history. Hard to believe, but through November 2021, Seraj US has sent more than a million dollars to Palestine in support of community libraries and Palestinian empowerment. We have established 10 community libraries, and now are actively completing the National Storytelling Center & Birzeit Hub.
What began as a simple idea has become a powerful force for good. How it All Began & Grewis an amazing story. We are deeply indebted to all those who have supported us over these 14 years. From the Seraj US Board, but more importantly, from the children and families of our Palestinian library communities: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
How can I help support
the establishment of
new Children's Libraries?
Donations may be made on Seraj’s secure site. Choose the Paddock Challenge as your Fund choice.