Books for Asia in Pakistan
The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program has provided more than 3 million books to Pakistani organizations serving scholars, medical practitioners, nonprofits, and marginalized groups since the 1950s. The Pakistan program continues to provide resources throughout the country, including the more volatile North West Frontier and Balochistan Regions.
Status of Education in Pakistan
About one third of Pakistan's population of 167.7 million is impoverished and only 54 percent is literate. The literacy gap between men and women in Pakistan is wide, at 67.7 percent for adult men and 39.6 percent for adult women. While 67 percent of eligible children are enrolled in primary school, enrollment drops dramatically to 20 percent by secondary school. English is compulsory in middle and upper secondary school.
Books for Asia aims to donate around 100,000 books supplied by American publishers annually to Pakistani universities, religious and secular schools, nongovernmental organizations, public libraries, government agencies, and medical institutes across all of the provinces. More than 60 percent of all books are directed to institutions in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and remote Balochistan. Book donations to Asia Foundation partners in the areas of health, economic and legal empowerment, and government reform, including the Election Commission of Pakistan, are an important part of Books for Asia's efforts.
Project and Partner Highlights
Books to remote and isolated regions. With the help of De Las Guul (DLG), a nongovernmental organization in Pakistan, Books for Asia distributes books to the poverty-stricken and troubled province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province). DLG operates mobile libraries in the districts of Swat and Buner and, in 2010, distributed 5,000 children’s books within the region through the “Drive for the Promotion of Reading Habit” program.
Women Councilors Association. Donation of law and related books to create a resource center for women councilors providing legal aid to women.
Kaghan Memorial School. Books for Asia provides books to stock the library at this new school, offering a world class education to very poor children in the earthquake affected Kaghan Valley.
Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital. Books for Asia provides children books to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital's "Asia Foundation Trolley" which provides children undergoing cancer treatment with reading material to distract and entertain them with educational materials despite interruptions in their formal education. Books for Asia is extending this model to other hospitals as well.
Books for disadvantaged children and prison inmates in Punjab. Books for Asia donated 1,000 children’s books to the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau and Jails in 2010. The program has also donated books to Central Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.
Major publisher donors: John Wiley & Sons, Pearson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lynne Rienner, W.W. Norton & Company, Island Press, and the New England Journal of Medicine.
Syed Zahid Abbas
Books for Asia Director