As UAE students return to school soon, a Dubai-based bookstore is continuing to support parents who are struggling financially.
Book Hero, a Dubai bookstore known to run several community-led initiatives, is giving away books free of cost to parents who cannot afford to buy new ones. The store’s cofounder, Montserrat Martin said: “We are giving away around 4000 to 5000 books for completely free to those who are in need and we do this every year.”
This is the third year of the initiative and Martin said that people from around the UAE have come to collect books as well as take part in the initiative by giving away used books.
“We start the initiative every August when everyone is preparing to get back to school. From now, we will start collecting for next year’s drive,” she said.
Speaking about how Martin and the Book Hero staff spread the word, she said: “We post on social media and find those who need help online. Whenever we post, we immediately get around 12 to 15 emails asking how to get these books.”
For those looking to get the books, Martin said that the children need to be enrolled students. “It’s very simple, parents just need to show proof of enrollment, such as an enrollment letter or an email from the school and they can simply come and collect the books.”
Each student who wants to avail the benefits of the initiative can take four books. "We have families with three to four kids who come in. We have people coming for three years in a row," she said.
“The UAE has fantastic students and every year, they prove that with their marks and achievements. Who knows? We might be giving a book to the next Nobel Peace Prize winner,” she added.
Speaking about where the books being given are sourced from, Martin said: “We get them from book swaps and people give away books they no longer need. We also have lots of schools calling us who are digitalising and want to get rid of their books.”
Book Hero holds book swaps throughout the year, where people can come into the store and trade an academic book with another.
Wanting to extend the initiative to students overseas, Martin said: “If anyone knows those who need help overseas we will also find a way to ship the books to them. We are ready to support any overseas educational facilities and initiatives. We will cover the shipment costs.”
The Book Hero store is open daily during mall hours and can be found at Oasis Mall, Dubai.
Martin can be contacted on email@example.com