Gillian M. Reinhard ’20
Hanifa Darwish ’22 recognized a need for children’s libraries in her hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan. Like many Afghans, Hanifa had not grown up with bedtime stories, but hopes to help the next generation. She spent the summer after her first year at Trinity actively working to open a new library for local students. Schools in Afghanistan typically have limited resources and many students, often fifty in one class alone. Previously, there was just one library in the city of Kabul that catered to childhood education. Darwish, who described herself as a lifelong lover of reading, wanted to do her part to encourage young people in her country to read.
Darwish spent the summer designing the library, which included gathering English and picture books from libraries in the United States, games, Farsi and Pashto-language books, as well as hand-painting the walls. Creating the library was a job Darwish undertook from the ground-up, and installed new doors, windows, rebuilt the roof, and found new furniture. Now up and running, the library hosts programming throughout the year, including book clubs, English-language book discussions, acts of kindness, and photography classes. About fifty to one hundred children between the ages of seven to thirteen utilize the library each day. “I was inspired to build the children branch’s of Baale Parwaz library because I strongly believe in the bewitchment of books in changing behaviors, especially in childhood, to be kinder humans andto be a resource center for children where they speak their own voice,” explained Darwish.
Darwish worked at the main branch of Baale Parwaz library in Afghanistan, which roughly translates to “Wings to Fly.” She was inspired to create a second branch after noticing how many children wanted to utilize the resources of the library. Darwish loves working with young students and helping them succeed. She recounted her favorite book to read at the library, with an uplifting storyline telling children they can use their unique talents to be the best they can be.
She is committed to working on projects to further benefit the people of her country. “I hope this library provides a better path to a brighter home for the children of Afghanistan.”