On April 23 Libraries Without Borders had the honor of hosting Burundi’s Minister of the Interior, Mr. Nduwimana, in the Musasa refugee camp where one of our two Ideas Box kits is deployed. Mr. Nduwimana was able to discover the project during his visit to the camp.
The Minister praised the diversity and richness of the materials and contents offered by the Ideas Box. He also emphasized the importance of this project for Congolese refugees—especially children—who until now had been denied access to culture and information. Thanks to the Ideas Box, modern educational and recreational tools based on new technologies are now at their disposal. The Minister underscored the potential benefit of this innovative project for refugee populations. He also addressed the need for LWB to extend the program to include Burundian people, starting with those living around the camp and then the rest of the communities, especially IDPs living in camps.
The Ideas Box is a hub for education, information, recreation and creativity, but also a place of meeting and "living together". Through the Ideas Box, people who did not usually came together are now rubbing shoulders: young and old, mothers and their infants, idle young adults, refugees suffering from psychological distress, but also NGO partners ... Integrating Burundians living near the camp is a priority for LWB so that they can meet the refugees in a setting other than the commercial one provided by the local market, and around a space for cultural exchange, sharing knowledge, and in a context of discovery and acceptance of the other. These “peace building” activities, as they are so commonly known in the camps, are cherished by all stakeholders working for the well-being of refugee populations.
As a result, the Minister’s wish will soon become a reality: starting this May, the Ideas Box will be open to the many Burundians who come asking to have access to the Ideas Box. Among them are young students, high school graduates who cannot find work and unemployed adults who want to access the Internet and social networks, but also teachers who want to use the new and up-to-date contents to teach class.
Libraries Without Borders is very happy and grateful for the full support of the Minister of the Interior, a key partner of the Ideas Box program via ONPRA, the national office responsible for the organization of life in the camps. It is a vote of confidence, but also proof that the Ideas Box is well-suited to deal with boredom and the lack of activities in the camps, and to encourage openness to the world and access to culture, education and information.