Tall tales however no dessert: the storyteller of Karachi and his ice-cream cart library

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Tall tales however no dessert: the storyteller of Karachi and his ice-cream cart library

Pedalling down a slim alleyway in Karachi’s crowded Lyari City, Saira Bano slows as she passes a bunch of youngsters sitting on the bottom, listening to a person studying aloud from a e-book. The eight-year-old will get off her bike, slips off her sandals, and sits on the mat on the again.

She has already heard the story from Mohammad Noman, who’s entertaining greater than a dozen kids with the story of Noori, an insecure yellow parrot. “I don’t thoughts listening to it once more,” says Saira. “He’s so humorous.”

Noman, 23, is spending two weeks in Lyari pedalling an previous ice-cream cart via its lanes, stopping to learn his tales and forsaking books for the youngsters to borrow.

He dropped out of faculty himself as an adolescent however has returned to schooling and is now learning for his highschool certificates.

He’s additionally considered one of two storytellers working part-time for the Kahaani Sawaari (Tales on Wheels) programme, run by GoRead.pk, which is working to enhance literacy amongst underprivileged communities in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest metropolis.

“I turn into a child when I’m across the kids,” says Noman. Up to now 18 months, he has visited 30 areas of Lyari, one of the densely populated and disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Karachi, with greater than 660,000 residents, principally from the marginalised Baloch ethnic group.

“I’ve realized a lot,” says Noman. “It has introduced a change in me as properly. I’ve turn into extra tolerant of individuals and developed endurance. I feel I’ve a sure rapport with kids and so they hear.”

An estimated 15,000 kids have been learn tales because the challenge launched in 2021. {Photograph}: Zofeen E Ebrahim/The Guardian

Noman says he is aware of of youngsters who had been impressed to enrol in colleges after attending his classes.

Training is free and obligatory in Pakistan but, in accordance with the UN, it has the world’s second-highest fee of youngsters absent from college, at 44% of 5 to 16-year-olds. And 77% of 10-year-olds are unable to know easy textual content, in accordance with the World Financial institution.

Books and uniforms may be prohibitively costly in Pakistan. Saira dropped out of faculty a 12 months in the past when her father, who labored in a toy store, misplaced his job as Pakistan’s financial system was hit by rocketing meals and gas costs.

The studying scheme’s transport, an previous ice-cream cart, can attain little alleys in Karachi the place literacy charges are notably low. {Photograph}: Zofeen E Ebrahim/The Guardian

About 15,000 kids have attended greater than 700 Kahaani Sawaari storytelling classes because the challenge was launched in 2021.

Erum Kazi, GoRead’s programme director, says mother and father have instructed her how their kids have developed a love for studying because the scheme started.

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“As an alternative of selecting up dangerous habits – consuming gutka [betel chewing tobacco] and studying abusive language – moms mentioned how relieved they had been that their youngsters had been spending time studying,” says Kazi.

The founder, Nusser Sayeed, arrange the programme after seeing ‘little or no pleasure’ within the lives of youngsters in disadvantaged areas. {Photograph}: Zofeen E Ebrahim/The Guardian

Nusser Sayeed, GoRead’s director, is satisfied that “purposeful storytelling builds a baby’s character and brings out the traits for fulfillment in life”.

Sayeed, a former trainer, was impressed to arrange the programme after seeing “little or no pleasure within the lives of youngsters learning in colleges in underprivileged neighbourhoods”.

Kids had been rising up with out anybody studying them tales, she says, including: “We can’t anticipate kids to learn if we don’t learn to them first.”

It’s not simply kids within the Lyari viewers. “I’ve been watching this younger man are available his ice-cream cart since final week,” says Rashida Ashraf, an area resident in her 60s. “He performs music, and shortly the children trickle in. There’s no ice-cream although.

“It’s good,” she says. “It’s going to open their minds.”


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