Read while you ride: Kurdish woman donates 400 books to taxi, bus drivers in Erbil

"Let's promote the culture of reading on buses," Payam Hazim wrote on books donated to drivers.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdish woman in Erbil has voluntarily distributed over 400 books to taxi and bus drivers at a terminal to motivate passengers to read while they travel.

Payam Hazim, a 25-year-old university graduate who studied philosophy, moved from Halabja to Erbil with her family two months ago.

Over the past years, she has done similar activities in Halabja and wanted to extend that to the Kurdistan Region capital.

She recently distributed over 400 various books to taxi and bus drivers at a terminal in Erbil terminal so their passengers could read during long trips. Hazim says she is enthusiastic about the initiative and plans to expand her activities by distributing more books to different public places.

“People in taxis and buses at terminals in Erbil usually commute for over an hour to go to their hometowns,” Hazim told Kurdistan 24 while she donated books to the terminal.

“Books can be a passengers’ good friends during their long journeys.”

Giftwrapped with a bright red or yellow ribbon, each package she distributes contains no less than three books on different topics.

Surprised by the gift, drivers believe that encouraging passengers to ditch their mobile devices in favor of a book during long journeys will promote the culture of reading in the region.

“We thank her very much, and we hope she can donate more books to people so that everyone can enrich their understanding on different topics and fields,” Abubakr Mohammed, a bus driver at an Erbil terminal, told Kurdistan 24.

Bashdar Hassan, a taxi driver in Erbil, said he was grateful to Hazim for her initiative.

“My destination is usually one hour and 45 minutes long. Passengers are always busy with their cellphones. I am sure having books inside the car would make them spend less time on mobiles and read more.”

The evolution of technology and the spread of smartphones over the past decade has considerably affected the culture of reading across the world, including people in the Kurdistan Region.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany

(Additional reporting by Hero Mawludi)