In Mosul, Iraq, Iraqis are rejoicing to see a return of literary culture months after their liberation from three years of Islamic State rule.
Iraqis are a famously book-loving people and Mosul – located at the intersection of ancient trade routes – was long famed for its many booksellers.
That’s why Fahd Sabah recently launched Mosul’s new Book Forum cafe – open to both men and women. “While we lived under the yoke of [Islamic State], I told myself that it was an absolute must to open this place,” Mr. Sabah told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “There was a need to inform people, to enlighten minds, to bring new ideas.”
Booksellers have also returned to an outdoor market near the city’s university. “There’s a need to rebuild people’s spirits, which is even more important than rebuilding the houses and the city,” Ali Najam, a young Iraqi shopping at the book market, told AFP.
In Thornbury, Australia, refugees in this suburb of Melbourne are offering cooking classes organized by Free to Feed, a nonprofit started in 2015. It’s a process that allows refugees to earn a wage, practice their English, and share knowledge of their native cuisine. It also allows Australians to meet refugees and learn their stories.
The group, which employs 12 refugee-chefs each year, has hosted more than 400 classes/dinners since its start.
In La Paz, Bolivia, shoeshine boys are being given a leg up. Although the shoeshiners are ubiquitous in the city, the job is seen as so shameful that most wear masks to hide their faces.
Twelve years ago, Jaime Villalobos founded the Hormigón Armado Project to help this army of largely impoverished young people. Today, the shoeshiners sell a newspaper printed by the group, with profits going to a fund to provide them with health care and scholarships.
Hormigón Armado also arranges for some of the shoeshiners to work as tour guides – putting their remarkably in-depth knowledge of La Paz and its streets to good use.