Roshan the Camel – A mobile library: Plodding his way through the desert in remote southwest Pakistan, Roshan the Camel Library carries priceless cargo: books for children who can no longer go to school because of coronavirus lockdown.
The school children, who live in remote villages where the streets are too narrow for vehicles, put on their best clothes and rush out to meet Roshan. They crowd around the animal shouting “the camel is here!” It has been especially difficult in places like Balochistan, where in many villages Internet access is almost non-existent.
Raheema Jalal founded the Camel Library project
Raheema Jalal, a high school principal who founded the Camel Library project with her sister, a federal ministe, says she started the library last August because she wanted children around her remote hometown to continue learning despite schools being closed.
Children can borrow books
Roshan(the camel) carries the books to four different villages in the district of Kech, visiting each village three times a week and staying for about two hours each time. Children borrow books and return them the next time Roshan visits.
“I like picture books, because when I look at the pictures and the photographs, I can understand the story better,” nine-year-old Ambareen Imran told Reuters.
Camels were the sensible mode of transport
Jalal hopes to continue and expand the project to cover more villages, but needs funding.
Murad Ali, Roshan’s owner, says he was taken aback when he was first contacted about the project, but thought camels were the sensible mode of transport. He enjoys the trips and seeing the happy children and still earns as much as he used to when he transported firewood.
Balochistan makes up nearly half of Pakistan by area, but the sparsely populated province is also the country’s most impoverished.