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Summer reading with a conscience

Are you looking for a good book to read this summer? 

Written with contributions from Susheila Juggapah.

We’d like to add these reads to your summer reading list as one of the ways you can find out more about the countries we work in and how our development and humanitarian work has been supporting some of the world’s poorest people during conflict and natural disasters.

Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

If you haven't read Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, I highly recommend it. The characters witness the political ups and downs of the formation of Biafra, the breakaway state from Nigeria that survived for three years. The split led to a lengthy and deadly civil war in the late sixties during which over one million civilians died from fighting or famine.

Concern’s roots were formed in its response to the humanitarian needs during the conflict. “Africa Concern”, as we were then known, launched an appeal in June 1968 for the famine in Biafra with the slogan 'Send One Ship'. On 29 September, a 600 tonne ship named the Columcille landed off the coast of Biafra, filled with vital supplies of powdered food, medicines, and batteries.

 

A Golden Age, Tahmima Anam

A Golden Age, Tahmima Anam

This book focuses on a widow who tries to protect her children during the Bangladeshi War of Independence in 1971. Anam looks at the revolution and the conflict, as well as torture, politics, power, betrayal, and the refugee crisis which Concern responded to.

Concern have been responding to emergencies and leading development projects with local partners in Bangladesh ever since. We also ensure that the extreme poor can claim their fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution of Bangladesh so they have access to essential services such as education, healthcare, and social safety nets provided by the government.

 

 

God loves Haiti, Dimitry Elias Legér

God loves Haiti, Dimitry Elias Legér

In 2010, editor and writer, Dimitry Elias Léger originally from Haiti, served as a spokesperson for United Nations disaster relief programs in Haiti in the immediate aftermath of a devastating earthquake. His first novel, God loves Haiti, looks at the lives of three lovers in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake and the challenges they face readjusting after the disaster.

The devastating earthquake that hit Haiti caused 1.5 million people to lose their homes and killed 316,000 people. We’ve been working with communities to help them rebuild their lives by drilling boreholes for water, relocating 8,233 households, assisting people to start earning a living again through training, advice and equipment and supporting the tourism industry get back to business.

 

Damascus nights, Rafik Schami

Damascus nights, Rafik Schami

Damascus Nights is about the power of storytelling in Syria and beyond. It is 1959 and Salim, the most famous storyteller in Damascus, has lost his voice. For seven nights, his oldest friends gather round and take over his role as storyteller to help him get his voice back. They swap stories about contemporary politics and international travel as well as exploring more traditional themes of genies and princesses.

The story of Syria today is a tragic one. The current conflict is in its fifth year. More than 220,000 people are dead, 7.6 million are internally displaced and 4 million people have fled to neighbouring countries, including Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. Right now, 12.2 million people are in need of help. Inside Syria, the situation deteriorates on a daily basis with shortages of basic necessities like food, water and medical care. In some areas, people only have access to one or two litres of water a day and there are reports of an increase in malnutrition due to a lack of food. We are providing access to clean water for 255,500 people through the rehabilitation of existing water supply networks. We have also provided 23,700 people with hygiene kits.

 

Growing Resilience, a paper from Concern Worldwide

Growing Resilience, a paper from Concern Worldwide

It’s not a conventional read, but this short paper looks at our programmes and policy work, designed specifically for those working in Parliament. It explains why we need to build resilience to disasters in the countries we work in at a community level. If we prepare for a disaster before it turns into a crisis, communities have a better chance of recovering quickly. Research shows that it not only saves lives, but saves money too - for every £1 spent on building a community’s resilience to prevent food crises, £8 is saved in future emergency response.

 

 

Has your MP seen our Growing Resilience paper? Why not suggest they add it to their summer reading list, by contacting them here.

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