Young Kandahar man on mission to set up libraries
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): A young man in southern Kandahar province has embarked on establishing libraries in different areas to promote the culture of book-reading.
Matiullah Weesa has so far established such study points in Spin Boldak of Kandahar and Panjwai and Marja districts of neighbouring Helmand province.
Weesa told Pajhwok Afghan News during an exclusive interview that he launched the campaign from Spin Boldak district where he established his personal library and expanded it to a public library.
He has made available around 4,000 books in his library, which he bought during his student life.
Weesa said the library had become famous and people form Spin Boldak, Maroof Arghistan and other districts came there to read books and take some books home for study.
He set up a second library in Marja district of Helmand, which was once the centre of fighting.
The library cost him 35,000 afghsnis with contributions from civil society activists and cultural societies.
According to Weesa, a doctor has voluntarily provided a part of his clinic to the library where people not only visit for medical check-up but also study.
The third library was launched in Panjwai district, which had been the scene of insurgent activities.
Weesa said they collected nearly 1600 books during a book collection campaign in two months in Panjwai district.
A local teacher has allocated his building for the library and he voluntarily manages the facility in order to promote the culture of study among the youth, he says.
It was his desire to establish at least one library in each district and he started a book collection campaign on Facebook, he said, adding that nearly 15,000 different books have been collected so far.
He also plans to extend the library establishment campaign to Uruzgan, Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Khost, Paktika and Kunar provinces in near future.
Through the campaign, he said, they want to encourage people to donate at least one book for libraries, so that a library in each village could be set up.
“With the initiative, the youth in remote areas would be encouraged to pay more attention to study instead of war. It facilitates people interested in study in remote parts of the country,” he said.
He said they would not only rely on collecting books and establishing libraries, but would also struggle for reopening of schools which have been closed over the past seven or eight years for different reasons in districts of the country.
Weesa said he had traveled several times with his friends to many districts, encouraging people to keep schools open and send their children to school.
He added he had helped bring a large number of children from remote areas to the provincial capital to continue schooling and these children have been provided all learning materials.
He asked the government and people to focus on improving education and invest in printing new educational books.
Mohammad Naim, the head of the library in Pajwai district, said it was the first time a library was opened in his district. He said people there were happy about the new development.
Naim, also a teacher, told Pajhwok he voluntarily organised the library in order to help the youth quench their thirst for education.
A large number of youth started visiting the library after it was opened and they used to take books home for study, he said, adding that the youth returned the books to the library after studying them.
Naim hoped the study culture would gradually become common in the district and more people would invest in opening libraries.
Rahmatullah, a resident of Spin Boldak district, said that a number of youth including him in his village gathered in study rooms and study books they took from the newly-opened library.
He said they chose novels, short-stories and poems books for studying. The study was the best activity for the youth in districts lacking facilities of higher education, sports and others.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.