Internationally-renowned author, Paulo Coelho, has urged his fans and followers to donate books to Balochistan. The renowned author had shared the article of the local news outlet on his Twitter account.
He appealed to his followers to donate books to Balochistan in a bid to support the new reading rooms built in Balochistan. “Send books to Balochistan, they’re building reading rooms,” he wrote. His fans and followers from Pakistan and across the world lauded Paulo Coelho on Twitter.
Send books to Balochistan, they’re building reading rooms https://t.co/sgLGBqa7eR
— Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) August 17, 2020
The article Paulo Coelho shared talked about the initiative taken by a group of five Balochi boys to open small libraries across the district Wadh, Balochistan.
Local library initiative in Balochistan
Siraj Sheikh, the leading man of the project, is an engineering graduate from the University of Khuzdar. He along with his five friends has taken up the task to make small libraries in Wadh. Their latest one is Wadh Students Library which took advantage of an abandoned building where people did drugs.
“We had been looking for a place to build a library but couldn’t find one after which we wrote to the district government asking for help,” Siraj Sheikh informed the local media outlet. He said after a few days they received permission to convert the abandoned building of the revenue department into a library.
The building was in shambles and it took them 50 days to fix it for the opening of the library. The self-initiative turned a community project when residents donated money for the renovation of the building.
The local non-profit organization also joined the initiative. The Balochistan Youth Against Coronavirus (BYAC) that usually distributed rations in the province also donated 500 books. Sikander Bajenzo, the founder of BYAC also made an open announcement to donate books to the library.
Bijenzo said to the surprise of most people, people in Balochistan are well-read. The youth have read books of renowned authors like Elif Shafak and Paulo Coelho.
Siraj Sheikh said the idea to open libraries in Wadh district popped up during COVID-19 lockdown when students studying in other parts of the country returned to their home town in Balochistan.
Paulo Coelho wants you to send books to Balochistan – Art & Culture – Images https://t.co/kkOAj8SCPL
— Sana Baloch (@iSanaBalochh) August 18, 2020
Sheikh said he realized there is not a single library in the district when he returned home. Siraj Sheikh is the son of a farmer. He is the only person from his village to study at a University. Most of his peers dropped out of school after primary schooling.
Back in May, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa categorically said that Balochistan is the future of Pakistan, and we have to fully assist its government and people towards a peaceful and prosperous province. According to the military’s media wing ISPR, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed these views during his visit to Quetta.
COAS directed all commanders to reach out to people in far-flung areas of Balochistan to help mitigate challenges faced by masses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan’s largest province by area constituting 44% of Pakistan’s total landmass. But it is the least populated province. It has been gripped by insurgency for many years now.