About the Garden Library:
The Garden Library was founded in 2009 by ARTEAM, an interdisciplinary art NGO, in collaboration with Mesila, an aid and information center for the foreign communities operated by Tel Aviv municipality. The Garden Library was established based upon the belief that culture and education are basic human rights that bridge differences between communities and individuals, and that can affect lasting social change.
The Garden Library is located in the Neveh Sha’anan neighborhood in South Tel-Aviv, which suffers from socioeconomic deprivation, institutional neglect and the complete absence of art and cultural centers. In recent years, the neighborhood has been transformed into the undisputed center of African refugees and asylum seekers, generating and perpetuating hostility towards the migrant communities. These devastating conditions have worsened due to the Israeli government’s policies, which continually prevent asylum seekers from applying for refugee status, hence they are not granted work permits and various other services, such as health and welfare. In the past few years, Israel has been imprisoning asylum seekers in a detention center in an effort to pressure them to leave the country.
The mission we have taken upon ourselves is to promote the human rights of the members of the foreign communities through empowering individuals and groups in these communities to organize collectively and to advocate for their rights. To this end, the Garden Library sponsors a range of art and educational programs aimed at equipping members of the foreign communities, children and adults alike, with tools and skills that better their situation in the job market, their enhance their understanding of Israeli society and enlarge their capacities to advocate for their rights.