Afiya Abbasi, a 19-year-old student of Pharm-D at the Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC), couldn’t find a place to study for her exams. She was also fond of fiction and nonfiction books but had no library in which she could study.
That is when she came up with the idea of a public library. She is a resident of Ibrahim Hyderi, an area which lacks the resources for education, and like the rest of the city, does not have a public library.
Afiya would go from Ibrahim Hyderi to Landhi Town every day, which is almost a 40-minute drive and remarkably inconvenient in a city that lacks a mass transit system. Her daily struggle during the commute inspired her to rid everyone else in her area of this worry. She had hoped to make an accessible library for all, when the Azm-e-Naujawan, a youth training programme opened up.
This gave her the chance to design a mobile library, which is a stack of books on a wheel cart that the community volunteers steer door to door.
“An area like ours has a serious lack of awareness regarding the importance of books and being able to read as a leisure activity, so having a library was not the solution, making it mobile was,” says Afiya.
Initially, the target goal was to collect 500 books but because of social media influencers’ campaigning for Afiya, they were able to collect 800 books on all subjects.
“I wanted to house all these books under one roof, and that was a bigger challenge, but after months of looking for funding opportunities, we got one that bought us a space for a proper library,” said Afiya.
Here, anyone can come and study for as long as they want in a peaceful and comfortable environment.