Reading is one of the most beautiful joys of life. However, in the low fee private and government schools, reading is something that is limited to only text books. Reading for joy is an idea alien to children in these schools. As a result, the students relate reading to something that is forced and uninteresting. At Mantra4Change, we have taken it as a challenge to develop our students into voracious readers and help them discover the joy of reading.
This was the motive behind helping one of our partner schools establish a library in the school. The School Transformation Lead, Vasundhara, wanted to introduce and induce choices among students towards reading. She wanted to introduce the students to a world of books beyond the textbooks. She shared the idea with the school principal, who was equally excited but had financial constraints. But as they say, “Where there is will, there is a way”, Ms. Meena Gupta came to our rescue. She helped us raise 50,000 rupees for the library through a friend of hers, named Mr. Gopal P. He donated the amount to the school, which helped us plan to setup a basic enabling infrastructure in place and to buy books of different reading levels. Thus, the library project got kick-started.
The second challenge was to find space in the school for the library as all the rooms were occupied as classrooms. After pondering upon it for a while, Vasundhara decided to use the store room like space on the top floor of the building for the library. She then convinced the school Principal to revamp it. The work finally started.
The faded walls were now being painted bright yellow and reading areas were getting designed by Aditi, a volunteer from Shristi school of Arts and Technology. The once dirty and damp place filled with junk was now going to become a place where children wanted to come and spend time exploring the world of wonders.
It was beautiful to see the enthusiasm among the teachers and the students for the library. This small activity somehow brought the entire school together. The teachers took the ownership of planning the space and the children looked for opportunities to help out with the painting work.
The revamping of the space is now almost over. The books are already being chosen to cater to the needs of the children. The excitement of getting a library is quite evident in the school. Everybody is looking forward to the inauguration of the library which is scheduled at the end of July. This is what makes interventions like these more interesting. It becomes a beautiful memory for the people involved in the process. This will always be a very special experience for the school staff and the children. We hope that this library inspires the children to explore the world beyond their textbooks and makes them fall in love with reading!
-Written by Ms. Ankita Ghosh, School Transformation Lead, Mantra4Change