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Reading has fallen out of favor in Afghan society in recent times with the stressful circumstances of war torn country. AIL promotes reading by setting up its own libraries, supporting other libraries such as at the Citadel historical site and publishing reading materials.
Recently AIL staff took another approach to encourage reading but holding a book reading contest. Staff gathered some experts to review reading options and together they chose a book about the Prophet Mohammed. This book was chosen for its length, complexity and content and as it would appeal to all ages. Students from 6 institutions took part including 2 of Dr. Yacoobi’s private schools, 3 AIL Learning Centers and an unaffiliated school.
There were 1,000 participants (ages between 10 and 25) who were given the book and a questionnaire which they filled out. Sixty got all the answers right and received recognition and prizes and 3 were chosen by lottery for special prizes. Many parents also participated reading the book too so it was a family undertaking. The awards were handed out at a special gathering attended by 200 people. The circus performers from the Yacoobi school put on a show orientated round reading and there were speeches about the importance of reading and of buying books.
One student said ''I study at the High School in my village in the sixth class and am 11 years old. I had never thought to read other books beside my school books because we are poor, but I was very interested in reading books. This contest awakened the motivation in my mind and made me more interested in reading books. When this contest was announced, I took part and with the help of my parents I could answer the questions. Now I am a winner of the contest. Fortunately our school now has a library, and I can borrow books from there, return them and get another one."
AIL works to open people’s minds and in this case, rediscover the value of reading and attention to literature in this fast paced, screen centered world of today.
Thanks for your continued interest.