With the education sector left awry in the militancy and disaster-hit Swat valley, Swat Education Development Society (SEDS) organised a book fair in Khwazakhela tehsil on Tuesday to help the young develop love for books.
The fair was held at a former militant stronghold site and was swarmed with students and book lovers. The site was decorated with banners inscribing slogans about the importance of books, such as “Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one mind to the other,” and the bit humorous, “He who lends a book is an idiot. He who returns the books is more of an idiot.”
The fair exhibited a large number of books on various subjects, including science, literature, politics and general knowledge, of which those that are not sold will be donated to different school libraries of district. The event was appreciated by students, teachers, and parents alike.
In the aftermath of the mayhem, in which terrorists blew up more than 400 schools in Swat valley, the book exhibit is aimed at helping people realise the importance of education, said Nisar Ahmad Khan, the general secretary of SEDS. He said that with the sponsorship of the Asia Foundation, SEDS has organised fairs in and donated books to all government and private schools in the valley. He said that such exhibitions will be organised in Kabal and Matta tehsils soon.
Habibullah, a grade 10 student of Swat Collegiate School Khwazakhela, lauded the efforts of SEDS and the Asia Foundation in reviving the valley’s education sector. “[The militants] were pushing us into darkness; destroying our schools and restricting us to our homes,” said Habibullah. He said that such efforts will not only help us get our schooling back on track, but will also increase the love for books among the people.
His classmate, Imtiaz Ahmad, said, “It is quite refreshing to see so many books around. The terrorists had kept us from studies and now we can focus on our schooling in peace.”
Hanif Qais, a renowned poet and also the director of Khwazakhela Model School, was also present at the fair to collect books for his school library. Talking to The Express Tribune about the importance of books, he said, “No doubt, only those nations touch the heights of success and development that are closer to books. Those who snatch books from our children are the enemies of our nation and our young generation. I hope we will join developed nations soon with the help of education and books.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 2nd, 2012.
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