How would it be to spend time listening to the story of a real human and read them like books? That is exactly what human libraries are for.
We are all looking for answers to questions that we have not yet asked. Sometimes some of our questions are answered by books written by people who have gone through what you are going through today. But what if you get to bring about a change in your life, a new perspective by listening to a person and reading them like a book? You can do just that at Human Library – these sessions that are usually organised once a month are currently held in Mumbai, Delhi, Indore, Hyderabad and other cities. Registering for such an event is free.
You can listen to a Young Single Mother or A Plus-Sized Muslim Model or someone else who has a story to tell. These stories are unheard and will definitely challenge you in ways you cannot imagine. You can ask questions to the people who have volunteered to tell their stories and know more about their lives.
This initiative first began in Copenhagen, Denmark 12 years ago. Initially this was an anti-violence initiative started by Dany Abergel, Asma Mouna, Christoffer Erichsen and Ronni Abergel from Copenhagen after a mutual friend was stabbed in the nightlife (1993). The brutal attack on their friend, who luckily survived, made the group decide to try and do something about the problem. To raise awareness and use peer group education to mobilize danish youngsters against violence. In a few years time the organization had 30.000 members all over the country, as per their website.
Now the Human Library Organisation is present in more than 70 countries across the globe.
The Facebook Page of Human Library Mumbai reads, “The Human Library Mumbai aims to bring together real people of city as ‘Books’ and ‘Readers’ and break stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.”
Their website reads, “Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover. The Human Library is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue The Human Library is a place where real people are on loan to readers A place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated and answered.”
The people who tell their stories here come from walks of life that have been full of struggles and aren’t the usual. Someone who is homeless, someone who is sexually abused, someone who is a refugee – they would all open up to you at this place. Novel isn’t it?
Another interesting concept put forward by them on their website is what if there is a scenario where people don’t get the point which the human books are putting forward? Then they say, “One of the main concerns of the creators inventors was what would happen if people would not get the point? Or if the audience just simply did not want to be challenged on their prejudices? Well given that there was a total of 75 books available, the conclusion was that with so many different people together in a rather small space for a long time, then they are bound to start reading each other if no readers come. And so it was to become. Before the first reader could take out a book, the talks where already going on extensively and the feeling of something very special was in the air. The policeman sitting there speaking with the graffiti writer. The politician in discussions with the youth activist and the football fan in a deep chat with the feminist. It was a win-win situation and has been ever since.”
Who wouldn’t feel like giving this event a try? Follow them on Facebook to know about their upcoming events.
Photos: Human Library Mumbai/ Facebook