Since 1978, Alif Laila Book Bus Society has focused on the future of the children of Pakistan by opening up the world of books to them; giving through libraries and a belief in them as centres of independent research and joyfulness, safe havens where they can explore and imagine.
“Our mission is to empower children to think critically and creatively, to empathize and build bridges, to befriend books and learn skills,” shared Basarat M. Kazim – the President of ALBBS.
They focus on 7 main areas: 1) Access to quality children’s books; 2) Hands on learning 3) Teacher development; 4) Youth and women empowerment; 5) Public-private partnership; 6) Advocacy and 7) Development of ECE materials and children’s books
They have started their mobile vocational training centre, which visits various government girls’ schools, encouraging them to innovate and invent, to dream big and master the skills for either setting up their own business or expanding the frontiers of knowledge.
Over the span of 43 years, ALBBS has provided over 7,000 libraries benefiting over 500,000 children. Recently in collaboration with IBBY Pakistan they started the box library campaign distributing 680 libraries nationwide. The camel libraries provided in the most deprived regions of Sindh and Balochistan, along with their rickshaw and bike libraries, have caught the imagination of children and adults alike.
“These books have brought light to the lives of children of Pakistan who needed the friendship only books can provide making them smile and laugh as they go through stories that are warm, humorous and friendly,” shared Mr. Kazim fondly.
Alif Laila, through its training for teachers and materials created for them has concentrated on the attitudes necessary for those who work with and for children, while enriching them with the materials their classrooms so sorely need. They have also been advocating with the government to make schools worthy of children, envisaged and designed advocacy campaigns for reading, nurturing the environment and creative thinking.
They are currently focusing on enabling communities to set up libraries, befriend the environment, training girls and young women to start kitchen gardens and other small businesses to earn livelihood and learn self-sufficiency.