the Institute for Cross-cultural Exchange; Help with Literacy
The Institute for Cross-cultural Exchange is a Canadian charity dedicated to promoting cross-cultural education and literacy. It encourages learning about other cultures and understanding between them. How to Apply for Books. There is growing recognition among educators that the Teaching-Stories collected and written for children by Idries Shah and published by Hoopoe Books are uniquely effective in the development of reading, language, and thinking skills. We have formed partnerships to provide children in Afghanistan with desperately needed books for distribution to schools, orphanages and libraries throughout the country to promote literacy.
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Welcome to the Institute for Cross-cultural Exchange (ICE)/
Institut d'échanges interculturels (IEI)

Established in Calgary in 2004, ICE is dedicated to promoting children’s literacy and cross-cultural education, at home and abroad. Our current priority is to donate high quality illustrated books featuring stories from the Middle East and Central Asia to literacy programs serving children in need.

Our literacy focus grew from a survey we conducted in 2004 in which we learned that Canadian literacy programs for disadvantaged children suffer from a severe and ongoing shortage of high quality books. Current requests from our Canadian partners reveal a need for at least 50,000 books annually.

In 2010 ICE began distributing Dari-Pashto editions of the same books to schools, orphanages and NGOs in desperate need in Afghanistan.

In just thirteen years ICE has donated free of charge over 221,000 books. More than 80 Canadian non-profit literacy groups will have received over 120,000 books, 6 partner organizations in Afghanistan over 100,000 books, and our partner organization in Mexico 1140 books.


JonArno Lawson is a Toronto children’s author who is a Governor General’s Award Winner & four-time winner of the Lion & the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry.
In this video he discusses ICE, an all-volunteer Canadian literacy organization, the children they help and the unique qualities of the books they donate to Canadian, Afghan & Mexican children in need.
Oct 16, 2017

“During our kindergarten immunization clinics… each pre-kindergarten student was given a brand new book to take home with them… we received rave reviews from families and nurses alike…the younger sister of one of the little girls I’d immunized the week before….entered my office & her face lit up.. ‘I saw you last week! Do you have another book for me?’ The books, not the needles, were this little girl’s lasting memory of our appointment.”
Read the entire letter here.
Lynne Reside Early Years Community Development Manager Success by 6/Children First BC: North Okanagan, Columbia , Shuswap Region
June 26, 2017

We couldn't help so many Afghan children without our wonderful donors and supporters. Thanks to you, we were able to send 21,000 Hoopoe books in January 2017 to Afghan Mobile Mini Circus who distributed them to children in Kabul and Nangarhar provinces.
Apr 5, 2017

In January 2017, we delivered 12,500 copies of The Farmers Wife by Idries Shah to 27 literacy organizations serving children across Canada. HUGE THANK YOU’S to Key Food Equipment Services for generously donating their warehouse space & to volunteers Stephanie Bogaert, Anthony Fuller, Ben Fuller, Tess Fuller & Shawn Fuller who stickered and labelled all those books for shipping. “When I saw the smiles on their faces, I realized that the books made a real difference to the children, their families & educators.” Elsa Ngan, Family Literacy & Adult Learning Program Coordinator, ASSIST Community Services Centre Edmonton Alberta.
Feb 9, 2017

We’ve posted three new Youtube videos below featuring author Tahir Shah who was in Toronto last spring for the storytelling festival. Tahir discusses the unique qualities and uses of stories collected by his father, Idries Shah and how they can help develop Afghan children and their country.
Tahir Shah 1 Children’s stories as instruction manuals to the world
Tahir Shah 2 Repatriating Afghan Stories to Afghan Children
Tahir Shah 3 Stories as an ancient psychological framework
Oct 4, 2016


Donate to help promote literacy.
Volunteer to aid literacy.
News for children's literacy.
Contact ICE for info on literacy.
Mobile Site for Literacy Afghan Mobile Mini Circus

Afghan Mobile Mini Circus distributing books to children in Kabul and Nangarhar provinces
(See LATEST NEWS on left.)

Volunteer loading books by Afghan author Idries Shah for children's literacy

January 2017
ICE volunteers in BC packing
"The Farmer's Wife" to send to partner organizations
(See LATEST NEWS on left.)


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