Monday, June 4, 2018

When This Homeless Man Started Offering Book Reviews For Change, Something Amazing Happened

This is 24-year-old Philani Dladla, who calls himself the Pavement Bookworm. He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and has a fascinating story. 
He grew up in KwaZulu-Natal and always loved to read. But when he got older and moved to Johannesburg, he got mixed up in some bad scenes and succumbed to drug use. 

He said, “I left my job and couldn’t afford rent anymore – I lost everything. While living on the streets I noticed how many beggars there were getting money for nothing on street corners. I thought I could be different and actually give people something worthwhile – like a book or book review – in exchange for money.”

Soon after, he began selling books on the street... but only after he'd read them and could offer an in-depth review. 

Philani would also adjust the price according to how he rated each of the books. The range went from 10 South African Rand (US $1) for those he didn't like very much to 80 Rand  (US $6) for his favorite ones. It didn't take long to establish his nickname, the Pavement Bookworm, and for business to take off. 

“With some self-motivation and a lot of self-help books, I made the decision to stop taking drugs. But while I was helping myself I also wanted to help the other people I had been living on the streets with." 

He continued, "So I started using the money I got from selling books to buy everyone soup and bread everyday instead of spending that money on drugs. Seeing their smiles motivated me to keep using the little I had to spread happiness. From that point on, I knew I never wanted to go back to being a drug addict.”

Philani decided to set up a reading program for underprivileged kids in order to share his love for books with more people. 

Today it's called the Book Readers Club and kids come to the park after school to hangout, read, and talk about books while waiting for their parents to finish work. 

“I give them books on the condition that they come back and tell me what they learnt from reading it. There are some kids who take books and never come back, but I don’t let that dampen my spirit, because I know there are many more who love to read and who will use books as weapons to fight poverty," Philani said. 

Philani also notes that "too many kids lose their way after high school – many of them turn to drugs, alcohol and crime. I want to change that. We don’t just read together – we talk about our hopes, dreams and challenges and support each other in achieving them.”

This story has inspired people the world over and it's easy to see why... it's incredible. He's received so much attention that he was even featured on CCTV Africa (see below). 

We certainly hope Philani keeps doing what he's doing, and it's pretty safe to say he will. A passion like this one doesn't fizzle out and it certainly doesn't give up. 

via Pavement Bookworm

Main image source: Facebook / PhilaniBooks Dladla
Collage image source: Facebook / PhilaniBooks Dladla


Author: verified_user