Books for the underprivileged
While thousands of people visit the Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela every year and buy books of their choice, there are still many who have just the same hunger for reading, but cannot afford to do so.
Obhizatrik Foundation, a nonprofit working for underprivileged children, has joined hands with mobile financial service bKash, to collect new or old books from visitors of the book fair, and reach them to those who are deprived of the joy of buying books.
"We have installed a booth on Bangla Academy premises and four others on Suhrawardy Udyan premises to collect books," said Tipu Hossen, supervisor of a bKash stall near the entrance of the Suhrawardy Udyan part of the fair.
Talking to The Daily Star, Tipu said after collecting books, bKash has planned to donate some five thousnad books through Obhizatrik Foundation to various institutions including underprivileged children's schools, primary schools, libraries and old homes.
This correspondent found Farhana Nahreen, an eighth-grader at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, donating a total of 30 books to the booth yesterday evening.
"After reading these books, I have donated them for deprived children. The books may be old but valuable to read," said a smiling Farhana.
Her mother, Dr Rebeka Sultana, said she had been inspiring her daughter to read books since childhood. "After hearing about the initiative, my daughter came today and donated books here," she said.
Stall attendants of bKash said they had distributed some books to a number of children from the Mirpur branch of an underprivileged children's school run by Obhizatrik this week.
"We would continue it in the coming days," he added.
The donated books at the bookshelf of the booth include novels, rhymes, poetry, and biographies.
"There's no alternative to reading books for enlightenment. It's more important for children to build a future. We'll be able to provide more books to readers, including underprivileged children, if we can collect a good number of books from people visiting the fair," said Chief Marketing Officer of bKash Mir Nawbut Ali, according to a bkash press release.
Ahmed Imtiaz Jami, founder of Obhizatrik Foundation, said their school for underprivileged children lacks a well-equipped library, noting that it would be really helpful if people came forward and took part in their initiative.