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December 2018: Modern Slavery Related Resources-Amal Unbound

Wanting to dig deeper into one of our selections? We research related resources -- articles, videos, and more -- to help you expand your knowledge beyond the pages of our selections.

Wanting to dig deeper into one of our selections? We research related resources -- articles, videos, and more -- to help you expand your knowledge beyond the pages of our selections.

Our December theme, Modern Slavery, is one that is near and dear to our hearts.  Our Recommendations Moderator, RuthAnn, works closely with Dressember to raise awareness and funds to fight against modern slavery and human trafficking.  If our reads this month have moved you to help make a difference, you can donate to Dessember via RuthAnn’s fundraising page or you can join her team! You can also find more books like our Dressember reads on What Should I Read Next Episode 154, where Anne Bogel interviewed RuthAnn!  If you’re reading along, don’t forget to use #DressemberReading on all of your posts related to our selections and our additional suggestions.

This week, we’re diving into the culture and topics related to Aisha Saeed’s Amal Unbound.  


What is debt bondage? Dressember explains that approximately 8.1 million people are trapped in debt bondage like Amal.  Learn more about what this entails and who debt bondage impacts.

Amal Unbound exposes just one industry that employs forced labor, but what other industries also use it?  Dressember shares the top 5 industries where forced labor is used, and you might be surprised at what makes the list.

CNN highlighted the Humans of New York photos that raise $2 million to free bonded brick workers in Pakistan in 2015. HONY also released a powerful visual photo series of Pakistanis that shares an essential message about how we may perceive those who are different than us.  HONY continues to add to their stories from and about Pakistan on their website.  

Learn more about Pakistan with these videos and links! Here are 15 quick facts you didn’t know about Pakistan, and if that isn’t enough here are 50 more fascinating facts!

In 2014, Syeda Fatima, an activist working to end indentured servitude, spoke to her fellow workers to fight against debt bondage and slave labor in Pakistan.  Learn more about Fatima’s organization, the Bonded Liberation Front Pakistan, which has successfully released over 80,000 men, women, and children from bonded labor.

Keep track of the Urdu words used in the book with this picture glossary!

In the first chapter, Amal and her teacher are having a conversation about some famous poets of the region. She mentions Ghalib, Rumi and Iqbal. Allama Iqbal is very popular in Pakistani culture and his poetry has been used as lyrics to popular songs, like Khudi by Junoon.

Lahore is a city of 13 gates. Some still exist whereas some have been demolished.

Wedding celebrations last for weeks in Pakistan. There are at least 4 ceremonies with lots of songs and dances. Traditionally matchmaking is arranged by parents. That is why Jawad Sahib’s mom is looking for prospective brides.

Food is an integral part of Pakistan’s social life. Most families enjoy evening tea parties. Notice how Amal prepares a tray for Nasreen Baji’s evening tea.

The system of education is different in Pakistan. Public education is not considered high quality. Most Pakistani send their children to private schools, but there are organizations that run schools for citizens who cannot afford education.  

Want to go further in your discussion of Amal Unbound with other readers?  Check out Random House’s discussion guide filled with personal response, essay, and research prompts!