London, UK - On an east London high street, children flock to the Ministry of Stories, a place where they can hone their writing skills.

Nick Hornby, a best-selling novelist, is behind the mentoring programme.

"Every measurement of success and poverty indicators show that literacy is at the heart of it. We think we can improve the future lives of disadvantaged children," Hornby said.

Novelists such as Zadie Smith and Sophie Kinsella serve as patrons for the programme.

The writing centre, hidden behind the quirky Hoxton Street Monster Supplies shop, provides after-school writing activities to children in the neighbourhood.

Many of the students do not speak English at home and come from low-income backgrounds.

"They may have a grandparent in Nigeria or ... Colombia. They represent the rich tapestry of London life and they can draw on that," said Emma Joliffe, the centre's creative learning manager.

The idea has gained traction and, now, interest is pouring in from around the world, from groups hoping to set up their own ministries of stories.

Follow Jessica Baldwin on Twitter: @jessicambaldwin

Source: Al Jazeera