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Venetia Rainey

Venetia Rainey is crowdfunding

112%
£28,022
raised of £25,000 target by 480 supporters

Weʼre raising £25,000 to help support the Aaliya's Books team after the Beirut explosion

Beirut, Lebanon
10 days to go

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Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you're not a registered nonprofit.

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Story

The Beirut explosion on 4th August has devastated huge parts of the city. Gemmayzeh, a historic neighbourhood that is home to thousands of people as well as hundreds of small businesses, was one of the worst hit. Among those businesses was Aaliya's Books, an independent English-language bookshop (new and second-hand), literary bar and café.

A haven for anyone looking for translations of Arabic classics, contemporary Lebanese literature and global bestsellers alike, Aaliya's was a stalwart of cultural life in Beirut. It hosted book clubs, author talks and new publication launches, and was a place to celebrate literature. It was also a space for journalists to work, friends to meet, and parties to be held, with regular wine tastings providing opportunities for locals to learn more about and support Lebanese vineyards.

Now it is in tatters. The immediate work of sweeping up the shattered glass, twisted metal and debris is underway as you read this. But it will take the support of family, friends and loyal customers to get Aaliya's back on its feet. Things were already tough in Lebanon thanks to a crushing economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. With the port destroyed (Lebanon imports most things, including food and medicine) and so many lives and businesses destroyed, things are going to get significantly harder.

Co-owner and chef Naila (pictured above, photo credit: Timour Azhari) spoke to Al Jazeera about what Aaliya's is facing here: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/tears-blast-worsens-crisis-beirut-residents-200806091824907.html

It’s unclear how long it will take before it is deemed safe to commence proper rebuilding work, so initial funds raised will go towards paying staff members' salaries, medical expenses and urgent family needs for the next three months plus any emergency repair work. Unlike in other countries where furlough schemes have propped up businesses during the lockdown, Lebanon’s government has not provided any support, so Aaliya’s ended up supporting its employees without any external assistance from March to May. The cushion the company had to keep staff afloat has been depleted, so given the dire situation, they are the priority.

You may be thinking, there are a lot of people in Beirut who need help right now, why focus on one business? Yes, the need is immense, and yes, if you want your money to go to a broader cause, then we encourage you to donate to trusted organisations on the ground such as the Lebanese Red Cross (https://www.supportlrc.app/) or diaspora fundraising group Impact Lebanon (https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lebanon-relief). You can find links for more NGOs to support here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/06/beirut-explosion-how-you-can-help-lebanon-victims-fund-donate-donations-food-relief. Or to give to creative businesses throughout Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael, donate here: https://fundrazr.com/11hFKa

Helping businesses such as Aaliya's recover as quickly as possible is vital for so many reasons. They are a crucial part of the battered Lebanese economy. They employ people who would otherwise be without work. They provide a space to gather and support each other. They are bastions of culture. They offer a slice of normality in a city that was turned upside down in a matter of minutes.

This is a space for friends of Aaliya's who would like to help Niamh, Naila and Will get their much-loved bookshop and cafe back up and running. Whatever you can donate will be hugely appreciated. Any extra will be given to the Red Cross and updates will be posted in the coming days. Thank you!

To learn more about Aaliya's Books, check out their website (https://www.aaliyasbooks.com), Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/aaliyasbooks), or their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AaliyasBooks/).

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Updates

4

  • Venetia Rainey1 month ago
    Venetia Rainey

    Venetia Rainey

    1 month ago

    A long-overdue update: Aaliya's now has doors and windows, and interior repairs continue apace. We hope to be open for business within weeks. From your donations, we have spent USD 9,967 on salaries, USD 2,992 on reimbursing local businesses and individuals whose consignment stock at Aaliya's was damaged in the blast, and USD 15,467 on repairing the physical premises. We still need to replace lost (mainly book) stock (approx. USD 10,000). A way to help: https://aaliyas-books.myshopify.com/collections/all We are so grateful to you all. .

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  • Venetia Rainey3 months ago
    Venetia Rainey

    Venetia Rainey

    3 months ago

    Hi all, It has come to our attention that no one seems to have received the thank you notes Naila and Niamh wrote to all of you. We aren't really sure what happened that they didn't send, but we just wanted to say that we thank you so, so much for the support you've shown us, and to mention that the notes you attached to your generous donations brought both laughter and tears of the ilk that will fuel us onward. THANK YOU.

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  • Venetia Rainey3 months ago
    Venetia Rainey

    Venetia Rainey

    3 months ago
    Update from the Page owner

    https://www.facebook.com/AaliyasBooks/videos/3569339769766878

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4 months ago

Venetia Rainey started crowdfunding

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Page last updated on: 11/18/2020 08.19

Supporters

480

  • Ibrahim

    Ibrahim

    Nov 18, 2020

    £50.00

  • The Markaz Review

    The Markaz Review

    Sep 29, 2020

    The Markaz Review supports Beirut's writers and artists and everyone who's been adversely affected by the port explosion.

    £50.00

  • Luke Kassira

    Luke Kassira

    Sep 25, 2020

    Keep up the good work!

    £50.00

  • Rachel, Duncan, Wilfred and Arthur x

    Rachel, Duncan, Wilfred and Arthur x

    Sep 22, 2020

    With love from William Dobson's cousin, Rachel. Wishing you all the courage and support you need right now. You are in our thoughts. xx

    £50.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Sep 20, 2020

    £10.00

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous

    Sep 20, 2020

    £3.00

  • Rick Mitry

    Rick Mitry

    Sep 19, 2020

    A small token of thanks to Aaliya's Books' inspiring efforts preserving the great heritage of Lebanon, where the first Bible was printed and the first Law school built,Thank you Gleebooks Sydney

    £50.00

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Venetia Rainey

Venetia Rainey

Beirut, Lebanon

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