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Peterborough donates over 4000 books for destroyed Gaza library

Over 4000 books were collected in Peterborough to help build a library in Gaza. 

Samir Mansour bookstore, Gaza’s famed library with the largest collection of English literature in the city was destroyed by Israeli airstrikes during the recent violence between Israel and Palestine. 

The two-storey book store was built 21 years ago and was believed to be a community centre and book shop for the local Gaza community and Palestinian school children. 

Following the destruction of the shop, two human rights lawyers Mahvish Rukhsana and Clive Stafford Smith initiated a fundraiser to raise money and help re-build the library. 

Members of public from across the globe joined in this initiative and offered to collect books and donations of money. 

Shakila Rashid and Rabeea Khalil kicked-off the ‘books for Gaza’ campaign in Peterborough which has received an “overwhelming response”. They said, this inspired 24 other cities and towns to start their own projects. 

Over 4000 books both old and new of different age-groups and genres were donated in Peterborough. 

Organisers said people in the community volunteered to collect them over the last few days and store them in their houses and garages. 

On Saturday, (June 19), dozens of volunteers including children helped organise and pack these books at the Ghousia Mosque on Gladstone Street. 

Thanking people for their efforts, Shakila Rashid said: “The project was all initiated through social media including Facebook and Instagram. 

“This is an important project for us. Books are an escapism for the children and people in Gaza living challenging lives and therefore this library- Samir Mansour book store was a very important place for them.  

“People volunteered to act as drop-off points in the city and store the books in their garages, business premises and houses. 

“The response has been amazing - we have over 4000 books that were sorted out on Saturday, all by volunteers. 

“The project is now closed as our initial target was 100k books and we believe this has been reach nationally. 

“There’s also fundraiser live to raise $250k for the construction of the library. 

“The books will now be taken to the drop-off point in London where other books are being collected and stored in a warehouse. The national organisers will then deal with sending them off to Gaza. 

“We want to thank everyone who has taken part in this project- from the dozens of volunteers to people who donated. This has been truly amazing.”