Alaina Rauf ’21 (Yarmouth) is taking on a mammoth book drive project she calls “Aagahi,” which means Awareness in Urdu. The purpose of the drive is to collect books to send to remote areas of northern Pakistan for children who cannot afford them and have no access to quality learning. Rauf has an agreement in place for book distribution with a UN based non-government organization (NGO) currently establishing schools and hospitals in Northern Pakistan. Her long-term goal is to set up the Mobile Library Project as a US based NGO, which will carry out the initiative permanently. Donations of new or used books can be delivered to the NYA library through May 1, 2019. She has collected over 600 books to date.
Rauf tells her story of the day a simple gesture moved her to make a difference to so many:
I used to often travel to the Northern parts of Pakistan with my parents during the summers. In 2016, we were driving to a place called Deosai Plains when our car broke down. We decided to walk around a remote village while our driver was fixing it. While doing so, I came across little kids who were staring at me and the books I was holding, so I offered it to them. Their smiles were full of joy so I asked my parents why they were so happy to have my books and if they didn’t have any of their own. To this, my parents explained that they live so far away that having access to good books is a challenge. A majority of these kids don’t even have proper schools in their area. This had surprised me, hence I started thinking about sending my books to them and asking my fellow friends and cousins to do the same. This had led me to the decision of collecting and donating books with my parent’s full support. Ever since I moved to the USA, this project has been dominating my thoughts, therefore, with the support of everyone at NYA, I’ve decided to launch this project now. Everyone can drop old, used, and new books for all ages in the Library at NYA. This would be an ongoing drive as I intend to collect books throughout the year and keep sending them to children with limited access. The drive I’m conducting this month would end by May 1. My project’s idea is to build mobile libraries in the rural area of northern Pakistan and assign them to different schools in various locations.
Rauf was born in Michigan but grew up in Pakistan. She moved back to the US with her mother and sister in 2017
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April 19, 2019