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IKEA partnership with UNICEF brings much-needed books to Albania

Summary

UNICEF and IKEA are re-igniting enthusiasm for reading amongst a generation of children in Albania who have been deprived of books.

For almost two decades, Albania’s libraries have been repurposed and school budgets slashed while the government has focussed on transitioning to democracy. Books have become a scarce and expensive commodity, out of reach for many poor families. The resulting dearth of literature has left well over half of Albanian 15-year-olds unable to complete more than the simplest reading tasks.
With €1 million from UNICEF’s largest corporate donor, the Swedish home furnishing retailer IKEA, the ‘Albania Reads’ project aims to open a library in each of 850 schools. In collaboration with the government, libraries have already opened in 160 schools — to the delight of children and teachers alike.