Raj Mohammad, a teacher, and a poet had set up a small library with over 500 members in Dara Adam Khel, commonly known for guns and drugs.
Dara Adam Khel is the main town in the Kohat District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is called a center of the illegal arms trade where markets and stalls are stashed with pistols, automatic rifles, as well as different types of bullets.
The library is only a brief walk away from the markets where books like Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway”, as well as the “Twilight Saga” series are available for readers.
Raj Mohammad was at first cynical about the idea of starting a library, as he thought that in a town infamous for gun violence, a library would have no niche. However, he did not lose hope and now has over 500 members.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has the lowest literacy rate among all of the provinces in Pakistan, which was reportedly 55 percent in 2020. However, things are changing. 33-year-old volunteer librarian Shafiullah Afridi stated that the younger generation is interested in reading rather than drugs and weapons.