Mumbra’s kids get the reading bug from ‘suitcase’ library
Twelve- year-old Lubna Baig is excited about visiting the Grace Square Park at Mumbra these days. Along with her playtime, she gets to read books for free, courtesy a local NGO.
Like Lubna, there are another 15 children who enthusiastically gather at the park every evening, as a volunteer from Parcham (the NGO) brings a suitcase full of books to be read.
Children enthusiastically take their picks and sit on swings, slides and on the lawns before losing themselves in many stories.
“There is a dearth of libraries in Mumbra. And during summer vacations this time, many children who keep roza (fast during Ramzan) are unable to play around much in the hot sun,” said Salma Ansari, a volunteer at Parcham. “So we decided we’ll take books to them instead.”
The NGO has identified five spots in Mumbra to take their suitcase library, filled with 30 books for children of different age groups. There are around 15 to 20 children, who regularly visit these spots in the evening.
“I would only read when in school or when I have to study but this library has introduced me to inspirational stories with positive messages,” said nine-year-old Sachin Ahire, a resident of Mumbra.
Initially, children did not take quickly to the books and volunteers used interactive games and storytelling techniques to garner their attention.
“As the number of children increased, they were gradually handed over the books and now they seem inseparable,” said Sabah Khan, founder of Parcham.
“I like to see the colourful pictures in these books and try to understand the story. It is interesting to read them. I eagerly wait for the suitcase library to arrive,” said Baig.
Eight-year-old Adil Ismail said, “These books are of great help as we spend quality time together. We also share whatever we read with our friends and suggest books to each other for the next day. Sometimes we do read comic books as well. It is fun and exciting.”