You fall in love with the books when you read today. Then tomorrow you will have the appetite to read again.

Ugbaad, student
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Books building dreams

20 year old Ugbaad in Somaliland is studying for her first degree, and she’s fallen in love with reading at her local library. This is her story.

My city, Hargeisa in Somaliland, suffered a lot of damage in our war for independence but has recovered and stood high. Now the most challenging thing I face is that my community is male dominated, especially in businesses.  

Women face unemployment. Most of them drop out of school. Another challenge common in the Somali region is female genital mutilation and insecurity. Even at places of education, especially during late hours, rape is a risk.   

Busy street in Hargeisa, Somaliland (c) Clay Gilliand

I want to sail through all these challenges and become someone who is able to solve any problem tomorrow. 

It was always my dream to become someone who creates opportunity in my country. I would like to become a business woman because I want to create job opportunities for younger generations. 

But during my primary education, there was no library. My knowledge was limited to what I was learning in our country education syllabus, and so were my vision and dreams. 

During high school, I was connected to the national library. These years really changed me because I began reading the library books, many of which were donated by Book Aid International.  

When I was tasked by the teacher to research a certain topic, I would come to the library, study the books and get all the information I needed. It was so helpful to be able to access these books. If we had no books from Book Aid International at the library, I would say our understanding and education level would be much lower. 

But what we learn in the school syllabus is limited, and we don’t obtain enough knowledge. When I read the library books, they provided me additional knowledge in other areas.  

I got a lot of new experiences reading. I came to know that there’s knowledge available to me that I didn’t know was out there. I met some people who were my role models and educated and came to know that there are people who are different from my people.

Most of the books’ authors are people from different countries. Now I have gotten to learn from their experience and knowledge since I am studying the books they’ve written. Now women here have read books written by their fellow women. They came to know women who can be their role model. For me, I got new vision and dreams that I didn’t have before from these books.  

Support readers like Ugbaad

You fall in love with the books when you read today. Then tomorrow you will have the appetite to come again and read again.

Ugbaad, Student

Books give people power. Books build people’s minds. They build your personality. They put you in control of your mind, time and actions.  

So if I came to the library and all the books were gone, I would feel I have lost part of myself. Like someone who lost his property. When someone is learning his biggest property is the books.  

And also to anyone who said that books weren’t important, I would say you have no vision person and you have no hope in life. I will not waste my time arguing with such person!

Today we have an opportunity to access free books. We have a library that’s open for us all the time. My only request would be to open more libraries like this one so more people can read.  

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