Book Yourself: promoting reading among youth in rural Azerbaijan
September 18, 2023

Book Yourself: promoting reading among youth in rural Azerbaijan

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In an effort to promote reading, learning, and memory skills, EU4Youth Alumni have brought a remarkable initiative called “Book Yourself” to the Barda District of central Azerbaijan. The project aims to engage young people from rural areas, who often do not have access to quality education, by establishing a library and collecting books of various genres.

At the heart of the “Book Yourself” project is the creation of a library on the premises of the Barda women’s club. Despite its location, the initiative is open to all genders. The library is thoughtfully curated to cater to the diverse interests and needs, offering a wide range of books including fiction, non-fiction, educational materials, and literature relevant to their region.

The project has set ambitious goals, seeking to enlarge the library and gather more books to provide participants with an even broader selection. By doing so, EU4Youth Alumni Orkhan Masimov and Mir Murad Sadikhov hope to equip young people with important skills and foster a love for reading that will benefit them in various aspects of their lives.

Orkhan explains: “I have been working in remote areas for almost three years now. One of my main goals is to support our under-resourced youth through non-formal education. The EU4Youth alumni network is a great opportunity to make a positive difference in the community. I think that the books that we collected in the library play an invaluable role in the acquisition of new knowledge on various topics by young people.”

The project has sparked considerable enthusiasm among its participants. One of the participants read a whole 100-page book in just one night, capturing a video of themselves reading and sending it to the project group. This inspired others to follow suit, and soon many were taking videos of themselves engrossed in their chosen books.

To bring the project to life, Orkhan and Mir Murad have been diligently collecting books from various sources. These include generous donations from individuals, organisations, and local businesses that support the cause. The team has also been actively engaging with publishers, bookshops, and libraries to acquire new and relevant books for the library.

The “Book Yourself” project offers a safe and accessible space for young people to engage and participate in various activities. Young people can freely access the library, borrow books, and enjoy them either at the club or in the comfort of their own homes.

In addition to access to the library, Orkhan and Mir Murad organise regular reading sessions, workshops, and other events. These sessions foster a love of reading, encourage critical thinking, and provide opportunities for social interaction. Furthermore, the project actively encourages young people to volunteer, contributing to the organisation of book drives, managing the bookshelf, facilitating reading sessions, and promoting the project within their community.

With their “Book Yourself”, the two EU4Youth Alumni are making a meaningful impact in the lives of young people in the Barda District. By cultivating a habit of reading, expanding knowledge, and improving cognitive abilities, this initiative is empowering young people, opening doors to new opportunities, and instilling a lifelong love for literature.


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