Mobile libraries resume their activities in Kabul to bring joy to children

10:02 PM

Sunday 05 December 2021

Kabul – (AFP)

For the first time since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan, a mobile library has re-entered an orphanage in Kabul, bringing smiles to children’s faces.

“I feel really happy, and I’m reading the books I love again,” said 11-year-old Arezzo Azizi, whose favorite book is about a cat who gets more cheese the more she learns to count.

“She hasn’t come for three months,” she added, her voice louder than her enthusiastic companions, referring to the public bus that has been converted into a library.

This mobile library is one of five buses rented by a local organization called Charmags, founded and operated by Afghan Harvard graduate Frishta Karim.

Hundreds of children have benefited in recent years from these mobile libraries while crossing Kabul, especially since many schools lack their own libraries.

“We lost almost all of our sponsors after the government fell to the Taliban” in mid-August, said Ahmed Fahim Barakati, deputy head of the non-profit initiative.

The Taliban’s Ministry of Education gave permission to restart mobile libraries several weeks ago. Barakati explained that only a few days ago, an agreement was reached with the Ministry of Transport, which owns buses.

Ramzia Abdi, a 22-year-old librarian, expresses her joy, which is almost equal to that of children, after the project returned to the roads. “It is a nice feeling. Currently, schools are also closed.”

Girls’ education was severely affected after the Taliban seized power, with millions of girls across the country banned from secondary school.

“We have street children and I love to serve them because they are unable to go to schools, and this is a way I can serve them,” Ramziah added.

“We have Islamic books, picture stories in English and Dari, and we have books for drawing and games,” she said.

Charmags has secured enough funding to keep the mobile bookstores operating for a month, according to Barakati.

“We raise money through online platforms from all over the world, and I hope we have enough sponsors and donors” to last longer, he added.

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