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Karvaan: The impact of social media for delivering books to Jammu and Kashmir

Karvaan: The impact of social media for delivering books to Jammu and Kashmir

The love for reading motivated Furkan Latif Khan to set up libraries across Jammu and Kashmir, for her, reading comes close to breathing. She spent her childhood in search of books all across Srinagar. She was struck by the lack of public libraries in the region. She set up libraries by crowdsourcing books using the social media platform. The process was initiated in 2016 which started by collecting books from the general population through social media, this project is known as Karvaan: A Roving Book Project. The books that are collected via social media are taken to private schools with no libraries across the region. She plans to hold workshops for initiating the students and teachers into setting up libraries so as to make books more accessible. 

Karvaan won an award for the Digital Empowerment Foundation’s 2017 in the category of crowdsourcing. For this project, every individual is working for the love of books and working for free. With the scope of expansion, Khan wants to make the entire process more interactive for the children, she wants to make the storytelling, a two way exercise. This can be done by the exchange of stories by children who receive the books. In 2016, she was able to collect more than 1000 books from across the country. This was possible after a month of campaigning over the social media. She strongly believes that books can open up a new world for children and aims to put in efforts that will help achieve the same.

The vision behind the initiative is to create libraries in schools and to cater to creative spaces for children. To ensure that there is no money involved in the project, she is not taking any money or giving any money to those involved with her. She believes that Karvaan will act as a catalyst for school children, parents and teachers to sustain the initiative. She hopes that the love of reading will carry the tradition forward and the libraries she helped set up, will have an impact on young minds. She has only received positive support from individuals across the region.

Unfortunately, she is stuck in the limbo because of continual violence and has been unable to initiate the process of delivering the books to the schools. She has been in touch with more than a dozen schools who are willing to host a roving book project. Unless and until the violence does not end, she will not be able to deliver the books and start the project. The power of social media has been noticeable in this project, Khan started off with the initiative on social media and found support, volunteers and collected books without having to pay anyone for the same.