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IMC and UKAid team up to promote a reading culture in Pakistan

IMC and UKAid donated a library to a primary school in Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad, which will increase access to books among pupils and, ultimately, stimulate curiosity, learning and problem-solving skills.

Tuesday 08 August 2017, Abeera Ahmed, Amina Nasim Khan, Lorenza Geronimo

On Monday 31 July 2017, IMC, UKAid and Prime Minister of Pakistan’s Education Reform Programme inaugurated a new library at Islamabad Model School (I-V) F-6/4, amidst the enthusiasm of pupils and teaching staff.

We had no library at the school and this is a great opportunity for the children as well as the teachers; we will definitely benefit from this. On behalf of the school, I thank DFID, IMC Worldwide and Prime Minister’s Education Reform Programme for this greatest gift.

– Sajida Bibi, Islamabad Model School’s principal

Since 2015, IMC has been implementing the Humqadam programme to rehabilitate and build over 10,000 classrooms and facilities in state schools in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab. Humqadam (in Urdu, ‘walking together’) is part of the largest education intervention ever made by UKAid in a lower-middle-income country and is expected to benefit over 1 million children by 2020.

As some prefabricated units were no longer required on the programme, IMC and UKAid decided to donate them to a school and convert them into a library. The Islamabad Model School desperately needed a dedicated space to store 700 books which were until that moment in a locked cupboard. Thanks to the library donation, pupils will now be able to access books regularly in a welcoming space for reading.

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From left to right, school’s principal Sajida Bibi, IMC Senior Technical Director Tim Stiff, DFID Pakistan Deputy Head Judith Herbertson and Humqadam programme Deputy Team Lead Isfundiar Kasuri, unveil the plaque during the library inaugural event on 31 July in Islamabad. Credit: Syed Abdullah Hameed/Humqadam.

We are happy to be a part of this opportunity to establish this library in Islamabad despite of the fact that the programme’s outreach is in KP and Punjab province, but still we were able to reach out to the school children and bring them a culture of reading and thus giving them a new learning experience.

– Isfundiar D. Kasuri, Humqadam programme Deputy Team Leader 

The library comprises of a display area with books in English and Urdu and a dedicated child-friendly reading room. Multi-grade students will be able to interact and collaborate in a safe and inclusive learning environment.

While UKAid paid for the prefabricated units, IMC provided furniture, including kids bean bags, rugs and bookshelves, and donated 424 books which were selected in partnership with Oxford University Press.

Tim Stiff, Senior Technical Director at IMC, highlighted the importance of developing good reading habits at the primary school level:

We are happy to bring this library to the school children, the structure has blended in very well. We have gifted 212 titles and about 400 books. Hopefully it will be beneficial to promote healthy reading culture.

DFID Pakistan Deputy Head Judith Herbertson cuts the ribbon at the library inauguration ceremony in Islamabad on 31 July.
DFID Pakistan Deputy Head Judith Herbertson and school’s principal Sajida Bibi cut the ribbon at the library inauguration ceremony in Islamabad on 31 July. Credit: Syed Abdullah Hameed/Humqadam.

DFID Pakistan Deputy Head Judith Herbertson inaugurated the library by unveiling the plaque and was eager to see it in use. After meeting the pupils, she gifted them a set of books and read out to them.

We are proud to be a part of this small contribution. Education is very important for children especially girls, its impact is much larger. As we invest in girls’ education, we contribute in better health, better living, better lifestyle and better generations to come.

– Judith Herbertson, Deputy Head DFID Pakistan

The students were visibly excited to finally see their school library opened. While only a small gesture, this library donation is a positive step in providing holistic education and knowledge to students, teachers and families in Islamabad.

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