By Bazio Doreen
We receive visitors from Berlin every year. But the 2022 February visit of one of the co-founders of https://openculture.agency/, the organization that has been partnering with us for over 5 years to improve the livelihood of refugee youth, was not just one of interacting and sharing chocolates. Not that we didn’t do that. But there was something more that we received; about 100 books to start the #PAGarchLib.
It is one thing to be an Architect; it is another thing to donate books to people you barely know but connects with. Indeed, Steven Kovats, a Canadian Architect, and Digital Media Specialist, always make sure to make new friends during every visit. With this donation, it would be fair to say that r0g Agency for Open Culture and Transformation has enabled Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF) to make such a great impression on the refugee youth in Pagirinya Refugee Settlement and this will go on for a very long time.
Pagirinya Architecture Library now serves a population of about ……with …..visits every month. Many of the visitors are students and teachers from the nearby Pagirinya Secondary School who may years to come use the knowledge acquired in the books to change the face of architecture not just in Uganda but South Sudan for those that will return to their home country.
According to Opira Jonathan, a student at the school and an upcoming fine artist, the school lacks a well-furbished school library and barely has any books about architecture.
“I feel this is a great place for us, we’ve been looking for books like this that can broaden our scope of work. I will use this opportunity to integrate this knowledge into our classroom activities by involving learners to do imaginative sketching of structures. This can just be done with simple tools like pencils, tracing papers, and rulers.” Opira Jonathan reveals.
However, this vision has now not only crossed the borders of Pagirinya but attracted partnerships. Among the notable ones are the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), and the Local Government.
Mr. Vitali Musloushi, the Senior Protection Associate, says that UNHCR will lobby for funds to sustain and improve the Library with the belief that it will help support refugees to become creative and develop knowledge and skills that can contribute to alleviating the biting youth unemployment.
On the other hand, Mr. Ondoga James has also pledged support to the innovation and requested YEF to encourage the host communities around the settlement also benefit from the project.
About the Library.
Launched in February 2022, Pagirinya Architecture Library (#PAGarchLib) is located at Pagirinya Satellite which is a youth space that was constructed by Youth Empowerment Foundation with financial support from r0g. The main objective of the library is to provide young people with resource access, get inspiration, and ideas on architecture, art, photography, and media documentation to create responsive building prototypes to solve local challenges of the communities and build houses in which they can happily live in and making these prototypes open-sourced for easy collaboration via media platform- GitHub.
Below is a gallery for the Launch event: