Despite being a fundamental right, literacy remains out of reach for many underprivileged children across the world. Lack of resources, financial constraints, and socio-economic conditions often limit their access to education, leaving them lagging behind their peers. However, there are initiatives and movements that have taken up the challenge of improving literacy rates among underprivileged children.
One of the key approaches to achieving this is by inculcating a habit of reading among them. By making books and reading materials accessible to these children, these initiatives are transforming their lives, empowering them with knowledge and helping them break the cycle of poverty.
This article explores how introducing reading habits among underprivileged children can make a difference in their lives and contribute to improving literacy rates.
- Let's Read India
If you are worried about children mindlessly scrolling through social media, this group of innovative IT professionals and engineers in Maharashtra have the perfect solution!
They've launched the 'Let's Read India' movement, bringing books straight to people's doorsteps. This revolutionary campaign, which started just a few months ago, has already received an overwhelming response from the community.
The group has amassed an impressive collection of over 10 lakh books covering a diverse range of subjects. According to Prafulla Wankhede, one of the founders of the campaign, "Our main goal is to entice this generation hooked on WhatsApp and social media back to the world of books. We aim to reignite the joy of reading and cultivate a reading culture among people, which will undoubtedly help them become better-educated and more civilized citizens."
Besides, there is a QR code for each book, and the mobile library makes a weekly visit to the identified locations. Initially, the 'Let's Read India' Foundation had planned to start the initiative in Maharashtra, Goa, and Madhya Pradesh. But due to the pandemic situation, the plan could not be implemented in other states. The foundation also plans to start a YouTube channel where well-known authors' speeches, interviews, and reviews will be played.
2. Boat Library
The historic city of Kolkata is known for its scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage. And now, you can explore the city's charm while indulging in the joy of reading with the launch of a children's library on a boat!
The initiative, in partnership with a heritage book store, allows readers to choose from a selection of 500 English and Bengali titles while cruising along the Hooghly River. The Young Readers' Boat Library offers a three-hour-long trip, giving you ample time to enjoy the picturesque views of Kolkata.
They wanted to provide children with a unique reading experience while also showcasing the beauty of Kolkata. The journey starts from Millenium Park, and the boat will travel to Belur Math jetty before returning. With three trips scheduled on all weekdays, the boat library is the perfect way to combine education, entertainment, and adventure!
3. Hope on Wheels
In these challenging times, the importance of education has never been more apparent, yet for many underprivileged students, access to essential resources remains a struggle. But one former teacher from Mohali, Sandeep Kumar Badsra, refused to let these obstacles stop his students from learning.
Sandeep saw firsthand the difficulties that students in slums faced, with limited access to books and technology hindering their education. So, he decided to take matters into his own hands and started the 'Hope on Wheels' initiative - a mobile library that carries books and other essential items to children in need.
Through this incredible initiative, Sandeep has been able to provide books and study materials to underprivileged students who couldn't afford technology, ensuring that they continue their education without interruption.
Not content with just a mobile library, Sandeep also established a non-governmental organization called the 'Open Eyes Foundation', which supports a range of community-driven initiatives. But that's not all - Sandeep has taken this initiative to the next level by equipping one side of the vehicle with an LED screen, turning it into a mobile classroom where students can receive instruction in addition to accessing educational resources.
4. Nadamadum noolagam
Books have the power to take you on a journey through different worlds and perspectives, and Mohan is a firm believer in the transformative power of reading. When he realized that many government school students were lacking access to books and language skills, he decided to take action.
In 2008, Mohan launched a mobile library initiative with the aim of inculcating a habit of reading in students and helping them acquire language skills. Despite initial skepticism from school heads, Mohan and his NGO team persevered, starting with humble beginnings of carrying books in vegetable baskets and later upgrading to an old motorcycle.
Today, the NGO has grown significantly, with a team of four executives and a small truck catering to 4,858 active readers across 100 government schools. The impact of the initiative is clear, with students discussing the stories they read and discovering new worlds through the power of books. Mohan's dedication to providing access to education and promoting a love for reading is an inspiration to us all.
5. Dulkal Library
Dulkal Library is a shining beacon of hope. This youth-led initiative is on a mission to set up a network of libraries in remote areas, tribal villages, and communities that have limited access to books and learning tools. Inspired by the words and vision of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, five passionate individuals came together to form Dulkal in January 2020.
These working professionals from different sectors had always been dedicated to various causes, with a focus on children's welfare. With Dulkal, they aim to shape and change the lives of children through the power of books and education.
In 2020, Dulkal received its first request from St Antony's Primary School in Aniyeri, Villupuram, to set up a library on its premises. Since then, the initiative has been making great strides, with the second library inaugurated on March 15 at the Government Higher Secondary School, Vengalathur, Tiruvannamalai. With 528 books for children between classes 1 to 10, Dulkal is making a significant impact in the lives of students who may not have had access to books otherwise.