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Government schools in India lack many educational facilities like a good library. Mayuri Purkayastha speaks of one such she built in Bhosari, through crowdsourcing.
There are 6 fellows teaching in a low income Government school in Bhosari.
As you walk into my school, you find a putrid smell hitting your nostrils, you spot kids playing in the shared playground between six other schools. To your extreme left tucked away behind the building of a Marathi Medium School will be a yellowed building standing against time. The first floor of that building along with the ground floor is the English Medium School of PCMC in Bhosari.
Until now, all fellows in their individual classes had libraries for their own classes by collecting books through the years. However, children often lacked the feel of a library, or a place where they could have access to myriad books.
Recently when the school was to be run in two shifts, the fellows decided to convert one of the spaces in the parking to a library. We started from scratch and the children did everything, from painting the walls to cleaning the floors.
We borrowed little almirahs from the classes we taught in, and put all our individual collections together.
But they were nowhere close to a healthy or varied collection for kids of all the age range that we were planning to cater to.
That’s when I thought of Senior Reading Raccoons, a community of book lovers on Facebook, a group where we discuss the books we have read and loved. I have loved the vibe of that group ever since I joined, and I thought they might be able to help with the books.
I wrote a post to the members telling them about the story of my team and our children, and support poured in from various cities in no time. We have had people sending couriers of hundreds of books from Indore, Hyderabad, and Bangalore. And I have been truly amazed.
I had put a few African children’s literature on my wishlist, a bit on the expensive side. But believe me I received most of the books!
The library looks fuller now, and there is a variety of books that my kids have access to, pre loved and new, alike.
As I see them exploring, reading, wondering, all I can say is that as a teacher, I feel a lot of hope. I know that at the end of the day, my kids won’t say “Hey, I don’t know if I like reading or not, because I never had a chance to explore!” Rather, they would be able to have the power of making a choice.
I have had friends from the UK supporting the cause, and Senior Reading Raccoons putting their heart and soul into making the library work for us. All I could say as I stepped into the new year is that when I see an “O” forming on the lips of my kids as they leaf through the books, I feel delight and so much joy, and for that I shall always remain in gratitude to all the donors.
Are you a neighbourhood change-maker? Or do you know a woman who is? We’re looking to feature women who have undertaken positive initiatives for social change, within their own geographical neighbourhoods (this could be an apartment building, a village, a town, a city or even a school/college). Tell us about them here.
Images source: Mayuri Purkayastha
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