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Building literacy in rural Palestine, one library at a time

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Opening day Al Mizra Alshaqiyya Library earlier this year. (Seraj Library Project)

For Palestinians living in rural villages, access to the internet and online educational materials has been a rare commodity. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 11 percent of children over ten have internet access through their schools, and three percent of households have access to a library or internet outside of a school

In Thursday's Global Activism segment, Estephan Salameh joins Jerome to talk about his work raising funds, and stocking shelves, to expand internet access and children's educational materials throughout the region.

In 2006 Salameh and his wife Laurie co-founded the Seraj Library Project, a non-profit organization that promotes literacy and education by stocking libraries in rural Palestinian villages. The project partners with local governments, who provide a site for the charity, which then fills it with books, computers and educational programs.

Salame and volunteers unpack books at Kufor Nima Library. (Seraj Library Project)

The Seraj Library Project has stocked five libraries so far, in four villages and one refugee camp. The project mainly imports books from Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, and serves a mix of Muslim and Christian children. Salameh hopes the success of the program, and increased interest in reading and the libraries can translate into books for adults in the future.

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