Bringing joyful stories to Outdoor Community Spaces.
The Kahaani Sawaari (“Traveling Stories”) Project was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which required us to temporarily pause our volunteer program in classrooms. It has blossomed to a community-wide movement, enabling GoRead.pk to reach and read to children in spaces we never thought possible.
The Kahaani Sawaari uses revamped ice cream cycles, outdoor reading materials, trained GoReaders and GoRead.pk’s library of high quality story books to create joyful story read aloud sessions for underprivileged children in outdoor community spaces.
Our GoReaders read to children in alleyways, school courtyards, spaces outside homes, churches, community centers, et cetera — weaving through communities point by point for 2 weeks at a time.
The mobility of our cycles and their presence outdoors enables us to rapidly, yet thoroughly, read to large numbers of children on the streets, who may not be in school, and often spend their time involving themselves in unhealthy or dangerous behaviors.
It is our priority to build a highly structured program. Children sit on reading mats hand made out of recycled plastic bags, in a cozy space demarcated using strings and cones. After listening to the story, children go over vocabulary words and then receive a copy of the book for a designated independent reading time. All of this can be easily packed away and moved around to a vast range of locations, creating a highly effective guerrilla-style read aloud program.
The Kahaani Sawaari Pilot Program was launched in September 2021 in Karachi’s communities of Lyari and Shah Faisal Colony, in collaboration with Kiran Foundation and Ra’ana Liaquat Craftsmen Colony.
Closing the Cycle: Hanging Libraries
At the completion of every reading cycle at each site, GoRead.pk leaves behind a set of story books for the community through a mobile “Hanging Library” system. Once we have planted the seeds of inspiration it is important for us to complete the cycle by giving children opportunities for independent reading.
Our “Hanging Libraries” — cloth-made pocket shelves — are hung up at community landmarks, i.e., a tailor’s shop, people’s homes, and community centers.
Accompanied by an adult, children are able to borrow their favorite stories for free, to share with their families and develop independent reading skills.
Kahaani aa rahee hai!
Just like how ice cream cycles have jingles, Kahaani Sawaari has a theme song — “Kahaani aa Rahee Hai” (“Stories Are Coming”) — which plays as it arrives at each location, generating a buzz of excitement for the children, who often sing along!
Watch our Music Video by PakaStudios!
Lyrics: Zehra Nigah
Composed & Performed by: Nazia Zuberi Hassan
Music by: Alex Shabaz