Pass through this colorful corridor and you arrive at Farhang Child-centered Library. It’s as if Elmer, the patchwork elephant is welcoming children from the very start: “Welcome! This is a place for celebrating and accepting differences… Let’s feel what it’s like to be different and part of a group at the same time. Come, come! Our colorfulness is indeed what makes life beautiful…”

Farhang Child-centered Library and its education complex, located in Navvab, Tehran, delivers education to immigrant Afghan children. This district is home to many immigrant Afghan families whose children have been visiting Farhang Child-centered Library for quite some time. About 500meters across stands Farhang Educational Complex, a school with tiny yet clean and cozy classrooms in which Afghan elementary through high school students study. Most teachers are fellow Afghans who have studied in the same school in their youth. Some teachers are volunteers.

This complex was established by the efforts of Nader Mousavi, an education activist who has been fighting against the obstacles immigrant Afghan students have been facing in terms of education for many years.

In December 2018, the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature and the Farhang Education Complex came together as to establish a Read with Me child-centered library for the children and young adults of this district. Ms. Nahid Fayyaz supported the establishment of this library in the memory of her uncle “Saeid Tejaratchi” which led to its completion in Winter 2019.

After evaluating the existing books in Farhang Education Complex, its inappropriate books where replaced with more than 400 quality books along with guidebooks and activity sheets.

Teachers and colleagues were incredibly cooperative in each and every step of the library’s establishment. To the point that one of the colleagues painted every tile in the library’s entrance a different color, enriching the entrance with playfulness.

Simultaneously, teachers and librarians of the complex participated in a number of Read with Me workshops: Child-centered Libraries, Learning Sounds, Learning Alphabet, Art and Dramatic Arts, Reading Aloud and Children’s Literature workshops.

Establishing Farhang Child-centered Library is the first step the Read with Me program has taken for about 150 elementary school students studying at Farhang Education Complex. The second step being holding reading aloud sessions with book-related activities for all children, immigrant or not, living in this district and creating a rich literacy environment full of enjoyable moments.

     

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