RDS_190701 CR - Books on wheels 1-1561902645494
Image Credit: Supplied

What you need to know:

  • Students start ‘Books On Wheels’ campaign.
  • The campaign aims at providing a brilliant platform to all school students to secure opportunities to volunteer and improve their leadership, communication and organisation skills.

My sister Aditi and I have been avid readers right from a young age. Especially inspired by 2016, the Year of Reading, we had initiated the Go Getters Library at our house and now we have conceptualised another initiative in our school – Books On Wheels – which aims to provide books in school buses for students and staff members to promote the joy of reading while constructively utilising travel time on their commute to and from the school.

Travelling on a bus can be dull, mundane and at times even tedious. It can also be hard for parents and teachers to get young children to read more. Books On Wheels is a creative solution - introducing appealing books as a pleasurable and relaxing way to occupy children on their commute while also fostering an interest in reading.

Books On Wheels is centered around the vision of the UAE to carry forth the UAE’s legacy of innovation, benevolence and a sustainable environment.

The initiative has also provided a brilliant platform to all school students to secure opportunities to volunteer and improve their leadership, communication and organisation skills. Students can volunteer to donate books, assist with book sorting and labelling and even become Reading Ambassadors to help manage the bus library.

Raising awareness and book collection

Students of different year groups have come forth to form the Books On Wheels Team in The Winchester School, Jebel Ali.

They increased awareness about the initiative in various ways. Important school events were utilised to talk about the campaign to students and parents; creative posters were designed and displayed at strategic locations in school; a short movie explaining the entire initiative was made to explain the campaign in detail to all students.

A book collection drive was organised in school to kick off the initiative, and all school students contributed generously. Volunteers were consequently involved in book sorting, numbering and labelling, which was followed up with the assembling of boxes of books that contained appropriate books for different age groups in various genres.

As of now, a pilot project is underway with a few buses, before the initiative is rolled onto the other buses.

School staff and students comment

“Aaditya and Aditi have always supported and promoted the national initiative since the announcement of Year of Reading. They had started a library at home to encourage reading in the neighbourhood and now reading while on the bus. All students engaged have benefited from experiential learning,” said Meenakshi Dahiya, principal and CEO.

“Instead of letting people read books and throw them away, Books On Wheels utilises them and lets other students use it. Students can also utilise their time in the bus instead of getting bored with the help of this campaign. All student volunteers have had a great experience helping,” said Yash Puri, student and campaign volunteer.

“Being a reading ambassador of this initiative and managing the operations of the mini library in the bus has boosted my confidence and enhanced my leadership skills. Students have been enjoying reading different types of books in the bus which makes the journey so much more fun especially when they have to travel long distance,” said Iba Hasan, campaign ambassador.

Cecile De Justo, a parent volunteer, added: “As a parent I have always believed in the importance of reading and this initiative aims to make travel time more meaningful for students traveling by school buses. It also aims at environmental sustainability. The books that have been collected and put together are being maximised to greater use. I strongly believe and support this initiative and am thankful that my children and I are part of this amazing project.”

— The reader is a pupil based in Dubai.

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