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Books for Orphans in Albania

At a home for orphaned children in Lexojme, Albania, Amherst College senior Iris Alia, of Albania (UWC Atlantic), and American student Kathryn Libby brought 500 new books to a library, that when they arrived, the library had just a few shelves of old books covered thickly in dust.

Each evening the two read 36 children Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and played games that built literacy and critical thinking. They painted and furnished the library, added shelves and lighting, negotiated bulk purchases of the 500 new and classic Albanian books, and gave each child a personal, gift-wrapped volume.

Iris said she won’t forget a 14-year-old girl, Sabe, who had once lived under a bridge and who, helping stock the new shelves, “carefully held and intently looked through each book. It made me think of all the other orphan children I had not met yet, who have great passion for learning and a strong will to life.”

This was a Project for Peace.