Some of them are single mothers, while others are victims of sexual harassment, migrants and mothers of homosexuals. All of them have the courage to ‘overcome’ the past and conquer the future. So, their identities are important, and not their names. These people are trying hard to crush the stereotype ideas about those identities. That’s why they become ‘Human Books’.
Human Book is a concept developed by the Human Library Organisation, an international organisation and a movement that first started in the Danish capital of Copenhagen in 2000 with the aim to challenge prejudice against social contact among people. Now, it has branches in more than 70 countries. The main aim of the organisation is to arrange a meeting between the readers and the Human Books.
Human Books are members of the Human Library who volunteer to centre themselves and answer personal questions, for the sake of breaking judgements and prejudices, and create greater diversity and understanding worldwide. Here, certain people act as books, sharing their life stories and lessons while being in the character of their craft. They share a brief view into their experience as a part of the Human Library with people (or readers) in a particular place (university, club, library…).
Ronni Abergel – the founder of Human Library – recently told the Indian media that it’s better for the readers to meet real people with real stories, instead of reading books. Abergel said that he wanted to challenge the stereotypes by allowing people, who were in crisis, to share their problems with others without any hesitation. He explained that nobody would judge anyone during the discussion as one of the main features of the event is to accept the differences between the participants. According to Abergel, the discussion allows people to rectify their erroneous concepts or ideas.
Meanwhile, Harshad Dinkar Fad – the founder and the Book Depot Manager at the Human Library Hyderabad in India – stressed that it’s important for the participants to know the difference between discussion and argument, as the main goal here is to understand each other. The 24-year-old said that he had set up the Human Library in March 2017 with just 10 Human Books. And now, he has 52 Human Books. “A book from our first event – titled ‘Domestic Violence Survivor’ – told me after the event how she was contemplating suicide at a point of time in her life. But after talking to so many strangers, sharing her story with them and answering their questions, she felt the warmth that still lies in this world and that she was glad to not have taken that step of suicide,” added Fad.
A Human Library has recently been set up in neighbouring Bangladesh. Upoma Rashid – one of the co-founders of Human Library Dhaka – said that they had started the venture in June 2015 with just 10 Human Books. Now, they have 15, including a single mother, a visually-impaired student of Dhaka University – Nahiyan Bushra, and a 70-year-old female freedom fighter. According to Rashid, Bushra is the most famous Bangladeshi Human Book who has inspired a number of foreign readers with her stories.
Meanwhile, Abergel confirmed that Human Library would open its branches in many cities in India, Bangladesh and also in neighbouring South Asian countries, as they want a different ‘future’. They want people to trust each other and not to make judgemental comments about others’ lives.
Perhaps, books and Kindle eBooks will make way for Human Books in the coming days.
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