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.
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.”