MHC junior opens school library in Kabul

Sajia Darwish in the Baale Parwaz Library in Kabul. Only 15 percent of Afghan women are literate.

By Alheri Egor-Egbe '17

Mount Holyoke College student Sajia Darwish ’18 grew up in Afghanistan, with little access to books. The library in her high school in Kabul was a small closet with two shelves and fewer than 100 books that were mostly graduate level. That was all she had to read as a child.   

The international relations major has never forgotten her experience. Last summer she opened the Baale Parwaz Library in Kabul, as described in an interview she gave The Huffington Post

Through the library, Darwish seeks to increase the literacy rates among girls in her community and create a reading culture. Several hundred girls visit the library daily to read, do schoolwork, and borrow books. The library also provides a space for meetings, a reading room, and a reading hour for younger children. 

“The lessons I have learned from this project are numerous,” Darwish said. “Given my gender, I have learned that there will be challenges I will face in the Afghan society no matter what I do. But in order to initiate a change, I will have to stand strong and focus on my objectives.” 

Read the article.