Reading is a trait essential for any society to progress and develop.
Our unique Rickshaw mobile library has been going to communities and low functioning schools since July 2019 when it was launched after receipt of a grant from the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan. GlobalGiving gave us the opportunity to raise funds when ours were at an ebb and hence the project gained momentum.
Alif Laila’s history with rickshaws goes back to 2010 when we started using them in a campaign to promote reading in Pakistan. We ran simultaneous ads for reading and taking books on rickshaws to communities where the lanes were tight and not accessible to our larger mobile library.
We used rickshaws to create excitement about reading both at the launch of our Living Library in Sheikhupura in 2013 and at the Children’s Literature Festival in Lahore in 2015.
The rickshaws we used previously had to be rented and hence could only be called in at specific times.
Since having our own, we have been busy going to schools, and communities in the mornings and evenings as well.
The Rickshaw library has been greatly appreciated by adults and children both as it takes its cheeriness to schools and communities. Children flock to it and adults come too, excited by the novelty! Just last week we had students come in from a University. They want to make the library their CSR project and go with it to communities.
Another institute called Amal Acedemy that works with young people has also shown interest in our Rickshaw Library and sent their representatives to take the rickshaw to certain communities and share the books and idea of a mobile library with young girls and mothers.
Since funds from GlobalGiving were received two months ago the Rickshaw Library has been visiting 5 communities a week in the afternoon and 5 low functioning schools in the morning. Needless to say the children simply love it!
Some of their wishes and comments:
“ We hope this bright little library will come to visit us regularly. We wait for it to bring books we can read and enter a new world we never knew before.... the world of imagination”!
The rickshaw excites children because it provides them a different experience altogether. They can sit in the cozy space and pick out books to read!!
They get excited by the sound of it entering their narrow streets and start running towards it with sheer joy.
In my childhood, I had the "Äkhbar-wala" (Newspaper Man), "Icecream wala" visiting our community but the "library woman" coming with a lot of colorful books easily accessible for a child to read was a dream I never dreamt!! The Alif Laila Book Bus Society has made this a reality.
Though I was a book lover as a child, I knew no library for children. I used to buy books or hunt for something to read in my parents’ collection.
I think a children's library is essential because it opens doors for all children and invites them to travel far in understanding life and the world they live in.
I can surely see the difference in the elders who weren't readers in childhood over ones who were... And it makes a huge difference in us as humans and how we perceive life.
This project is reaching out to the children who cannot afford a library membership or even buy an old book. It is encouraging them to be inquisitive and learn life skills from stories; of how to be better human beings, to know about the world and much more!
We hope this vibrant project goes from strength to strength and reaches all the beautiful children of Pakistan who also wait for the Rickshaw Wala to come with a magical world of books...... all for them.