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The book buses changing children’s lives in Kabul

Inside one of the Charmaghz book buses. Image: Charmaghz

Mobile library programmes which take books and learning to impoverished urban communities are starting to make a big difference to children’s lives.

A pair of travelling libraries – two converted blue buses full of kids’ books – are each week travelling the streets of Kabul, delivering reading materials to children who have little or no access to books.

This is thanks to Freshta Karim, a graduate of Oxford University who was inspired to start a non-profit organisation, Charmaghz, in her home city who herself grew up without books, reports Anne Cassidy in The Guardian.

‘The pain brings us together’

“We are a group of young Afghans who have witnessed war and its direct impact on our childhood firsthand,” Charmaghz says on its website. “Our childhood, like millions of other Afghan children, was lost before we could live it. The pain brings us together in order to make a difference in other children’s lives.

“We believe that creating a supportive and enabling environment such as Charmaghz where children can wonder, read, ask questions, be themselves and can have fun, will help our children grow to positive and open-minded individuals. will lead to innovation and development of the country as a whole. It will also contribute to creating a just and equal society.”

‘An opportunity for critical thinking’

A Persian word in its origins, Charmaghz literally means ‘four brains’. It is a combination of two words, Chahar means Four and Maghz means Brain. In Persian, Charmaghz means walnut, and the organisation says its literal meaning as four brains explain the philosophy of our work which is to create an opportunity for critical thinking.

You can see more about the work of Charmaghz on the website  and also its social media links.

Author: Simon Weedy

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