the Ideas Box

Discover a portable media center, unique in its kind, and learn about how you can support the program or acquire your own Ideas Box!

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Humanitarian situations

A unique device, the Ideas Box enables access to information, education and culture for populations emerging from humanitarian crisis situations. 

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Vulnerable Populations

The Ideas Box is a great tool for vulnerable populations with little or no access to culture everywhere, including in developed countries.

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Education & creativity

A powerful tool for reinforcing education and stimulating creativity among students in and out of school, the Ideas Box has been selected by the WISE accelerator.

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Twenty Ideas Box for peace in Colombia

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and French President François Hollande launch the "mobile libraries for peace." Crédit : Efraín Herrera – SIG Librarie...

Why we decided to keep working in Moria camp in Lesbos despite recent controversy

After the March 20th agreement between the European Union and Turkey, the majority of the large humanitarian organizations withdrew from the Moria Camp in Les...

Walter: Refugee, Computer Engineer…and Ideas Box Facilitator!

  Last March, when we arrived at the Eleonas refugee camp in Athens with the Ideas Box, one man got involved in the maintenance and use of the portable ...

The Ideas Box is a WISE Awards finalist for 2016!

On May 4th, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) announced this year's finalists for the WISE Awards. Fifteen innovating projects offering concret...

« I’m in Germany ! »

Ali is 12 years old. He has already crossed ten countries and had more difficulties than any European traveler would have to face. He crossed these countries ...

A ferry on the way to Lesbos

What is a crisis? Is it when daily life is marked by abnormal situations in which absurdity and violence take place and change our lives? A crisis and its man...

In Eleonas, the adults are the ones seizing coloured pencils and felt pens

Since Macedonia closed its borders with Greece last Sunday, and following the intensification of European border control policies, hundreds of refugees have f...

Every blog starts with a first post, a first page to write...

Early in 2016, Libraries Without Borders started the Ideas Box, a large-scale program in Europe, along the route of refugees. In this context, we invite you t...

The Ideas Box now in Detroit!

On Monday, November 30th, Libraries Without Borders and officials of the Detroit Mayor's Office and the Detroit Public Library network officially launched a p...

The Ideas Box launched in Taverny and Argenteuil!

For its third experimental programming phase in Ile-de-France, from November to December the Ideas Box will be installed at the Welcome and Orientation Center...

Michelle Obama visits the Ideas Box!

One year after its official selection at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), the Ideas Box along with Libraries Without Borders was in...

The Ideas Box at the Centre Pompidou in Paris!

Tuesday November 3rd, 2015, Libraries Without Borders participated in the launch of Social Good Week, a French organization intended to find ways to use the I...

Funding and community workshop at the Ideas Box in Burundi

This week, from October 26th to October 30th, a funding and community building workshop was held at the Ideas Box in Burundi. This scaling up working brought ...

Damas, Tanzanian refugee and Ideas Box facilitator

Damas NTAKIRUTIMANA is a 28 year old Tanzanian refugee who lives in the Musenyi integrated rural village in Burundi. After obtaining his humanities diploma...

Calais: First French City to have an Ideas Box!

On Friday October 9th, Patrick Kanner, the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Natacha Bouchart, the mayor of Calais, and Patrick Weil, President of Libra...

Libraries Without Borders in France has been selected as one of the winners of the Google Impact Challenge!

  Yesterday, Libraries Without Borders in France won the Google Impact Challenge after a night full of surprises at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ...

The Ideas Box and LWB invited to the European Parliament

From September 28th to 30th, 2015, Libraries Without Borders was invited by deputy Sylvie Guillaume, Vice President of the European Parliament, to the seat of...

The Ideas Box mobilises designers!

The Ideas Box mobilises designers! On Wednesday, September 16th, 23 design and industry professionals got together for the Scale Up workshop for Rationalis...

The Ideas Box around the world

approche de lesbos

After the March 20th agreement between the European Union and Turkey, the majority of the large humanitarian organizations withdrew from the Moria Camp in Lesbos, Greece. Opposing the increasing number of violations of the Universal Rights of Man, many NGOs called attention to the laws concerning the retention and incarceration of refugee populations.

Since March 20th, more than 5,000 refugees are trapped in the Moria camp, now transformed into an open-roof prison. Risking their own lives, the refugees are now seeking to register themselves as asylums and to avoid returning to Turkey. At the present time, the refugees do not have permission to leave the island. Besides the aid provided by religious organizations, the inhabitants of the Moria Camp receive insufficient support.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited the Moria camp, with our partners and friends from Save the Children. Together, we work at the community center for unaccompanied minors, which is also located in the enclosed camp. Calling this a community center would be a questionable understatement. This camp clearly resembles a prison with its high fences, closed gates, and guarded entrances. Inside of the camp, hundreds of children are waiting. They come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Morocco, and Central Africa. Some of them have been here for several months.

During my last visit in November, the center temporarily housed these children before sending them to shelters on the mainland. But, with the increasingly pressing refugee crisis and lack of a housing solution, the temporary soon became more permanent. Yet, the worst aspect of this situation is definitely the fact that the children receive little to no information about how much time they will spend in the shelter. These children are stressed, depressed; some are traumatized by what they left behind. Europe, a land that they have dreamed of, cannot give clear and rapid solutions to their problems.

Last month, With Save the Children, BSF deployed an Ideas Box in this center. At BSF, the internal debate about our presence in the camp continues to rage on. Does our presence legitimize European political machines and the agreement with Turkey? To be manipulated by politicians and the political system? These questions are justified. Still, I think that our presence in the center, with the Ideas Box program, is necessary because it serves children, the most vulnerable group arriving in Greece today. Protecting them, offering them cultural and educational activities, digital resources, and social structures to relearn the rules, all the while creating their own space, are all dimensions that we consider top priority. It is our mandate to bring solutions and access to information to the most vulnerable people, particularly children.

At Moria and elsewhere, partners and users of the Ideas Box construct and constantly update content and activities. This goes with the freedom of expression that is inherent in the Ideas Box and the possibility given to children to create their own content to share.

Our intervention raises numerous questions about our practices and our mandate. However, these questions do not prevent us from supporting and sustaining the positions taken by organizations such as the NGO Doctors Without Borders, The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or The French Office of Foreigners and Stateless Persons after their withdrawal from Moria.

But for the time being we have made the choice to stay with the children of Lesbos. This is a position that is subject to change, but for at least the next several months, we will remain there. This is also a position that gives us an important responsibility: to report and raise awareness about what is happening in order to create change.

Written by Jérémy Lachal, Executive Director of Libraries Without Borders - France

This is the seventh article in an ongoing series of blog entries written by LWB staff in Greece that have appeared in the French newspaper Libération.