An update on the “gift of summer reading” bookdrive

Last summer we worked with donors in the Seattle area to collect books for the students at our Akri, Pakistan campus. Over 80 books were collected each containing a handwritten note from the donor explaining what the book meant to them and why they wanted to share it with our students. The library is one of the most popular parts of the Akri campus so the books made a tremendous impact on our students when they arrived in the late summer.  Our partners, The Citizens Foundation (TCF), took some terrific pictures the day the books arrived and our students’ reactions when receiving them.

Unfortunately shortly after their delivery, heavy rains hit Akri, causing a levy to break and the school to be flooded. The ground floor of the school was immersed in 3 feet of water for several months and classes were suspended during this time. Many of our students’ families had to relocate to neighboring villages. Soon after the flooding, Umaimah had the opportunity to chat with some of our students to get their thoughts about receiving the books, what attending the school means to them and how the flooding impacted their lives.

Altaf,grade 3, dreams of becoming a computer engineer: [The books] we got were awesome. They are all at the school. Thank you [to the seattle kids] for sending us such great books. We hope you like the books we like and that we can someday send them to you. We had to rush out [with the flooding], we couldn’t take anything from home. They are saying it will rain again…we are staying in a school in Badin [a nearby town] and will not go home until it’s stopped raining. I love studying at the dreamfly school – it’s more fun than fun!

Noor-Ul-Huda, grade 4, dreams of becoming a doctor: Learning is so fun- we want to become something so we have to work hard. We loved getting [the books}. We read them. I love stories – all kinds of fun stories. Thank you to the kids in Seattle!

Fiza, grade 3, dreams of becoming a doctor and pharmacist: I want to be a doctor who can make her own medicine – yes, a doctor and a pharmacist. [At school she likes} drawing – water color; I participated in a school competition where our teacher asked us to paint whatever we like. I painted mickey mouse all from memory – I had seen mickey mouse somewhere and I “stamped” his picture in memory! I also do pencil color. I’ve painted grapes and all kinds of fruits. I once made a cotton snowman. A real one. Our teacher put it in the classroom but then it got old and dirty. My father is a writer, and I also write a column. I write poems in Sindhi, and once I’m done with Sindhi, I’ll write in Urdu and English also! I read “big” books – when I don’t understand something, I underline the words, and then go ask my father what they mean.

Sughra, grade 4, dreams of being a teacher: I love drawing on the computer and arts; I’ve made houses and bears. I really liked getting the books from Seattle. I like going to school and doing housework. I do help when I am not studying. I like sweeping and cleaning the house. I am telling the truth!

We are happy to report that the school has since re-opened and students are able to attend classes again. Extensive repairs are needed to get the dreamfly campus back to its original state and donations are being accepted through our site. Simply login to Paypal and note “Pakistan” in the cause section of the donation form.

The one thing the flood couldn’t touch was our students’ love for books and the library is still just as popular as ever.  More than just bringing delight to our students, the book drive helped us to connect children in Pakistan with their well-wishers in the US and make strides against our mission for exposure and education. We’d like to thank two of our largest donors to the bookdrive, Rhys Dekle and Jeff Robinson. Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to make such a wonderful gift to our students. We deeply appreciate their support and helping our book drive be a terrific success.

Stay tuned for more information on our fundraising efforts and how you  can continue our students’ love for learning and books!