KARACHI: The All Pakistan Women’s Association (Apwa) on Thursday inaugurated the first women’s library at their school in Liaquatabad’s B-1 area, adjacent to Zahoor Government High School. Commissioner Karachi Ejaz Ahmed Khan also attended the inaugural ceremony and presided over the hour-long event, along with parents and children.

Teaching students from nursery till grade four, the school has quite a chequered history. According to Apwa’s long-standing member and chairperson of Ayesha Siddiqa School, Ms Sajida Soomro, “the school was built around 50 years ago and is currently being jointly run by members of Apwa. However, for the past two years it was encroached upon by a political group which worried all of us.”

Fortunately, with the help of law enforcement agencies, they managed to get the school back. The four-room school, where the library was inaugurated, has been functional since last year.

The school is usually open between 9am to noon with a bulk of students coming from nearby neighbourhoods. The school initially began with 17 students and within a year the number of registered students rose to 80.

Advisor education committee at Apwa, Ms Iffat Nayyar, shared an interesting observation. “Mothers accompanying the children would mostly sit outside the school and wait for them till the school finished, while others went back home with no other activity to keep them busy.”

There also tends to be electricity shortage in the area during this time, so the idea to establish a library was conceptualised to provide the children and their mothers an enriching activity.

Soon, all the teachers were onboard with the idea of starting the library. English and Urdu language novels, some self-help books on healing and stitching, the Imran Series and Agatha Christie thrillers, all were on top of, what Ms Nayyar called, “a humble-looking bookshelf”.

Ms Soomro and Ms Nayyar aim to develop the same area into an adult literacy centre which they say has been “taken in view of community needs and in adherence to the United Nations Sustainable Develop­ment Goals (SDG-4).”

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2017

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