In May, we began a small crowd funding project for Rs. 70,000 for one library in the E-Base in Pench, Madhya Pradesh. Little did we know we would end up raising more than double the amount we had earlier planned to, and build two libraries instead of just one! It is October now and both our libraries together have close to 1200 books, a reading program for members from five schools and two mobile libraries.
This month, we inaugurated our library in Madhya Pradesh for our students who couldn’t hide their eager glances at the books in the bookshelves, wide smiles and their questions on the library system.
With a quick run through of the rules (and fines!) of the library, we proceeded to a small book reading by one of our students from the Turia Middle School.
The room was quiet and students had their eyes fixated on the book we were reading. After all, these books not only have some fantastic content but also gorgeous illustrations! How could the students not be captivated by these books!
After their library cards were distributed, the students lined up to choose the books they wanted to borrow. With the help of our very diligent students, Manisha, Rohit, Ashwin and Shreyansh our check out process of the borrowed books sped up greatly.
We were now ready to take our oath. All our students took an oath to always handle their books with clean hands, respect the books and other members of the library, always return books on time and work hard to improve their reading skills. At this point, to an outsider, our students and we looked like a charged bunch ready for battle. The air was buzzing with excitement, curiousity and a lot of hope.
Once again, we would like to thank everyone who has helped us along the way. Bitgiving for supporting our crowd funding campaign and our contributors for making this project see the light of day. A big thank you to all those who rummaged through their old books to donate some extraordinary encyclopaedias and books. A thank you to Tara Publications and Tulika Publications for wonderful, simple stories and unparalleled illustrations that connect us to our roots. Pratham Publications, thank you for the delightful and very economic books for our library. National Book Trust and Eklavya Publications too added some brilliant content to our libraries and we are glad to have been able to stock their books. All our volunteers also deserve a special mention for tirelessly helping the trust put together this project.
Lastly, without Monica Szczupider capturing these candid moments of our journey, we wouldn’t be able to share the joy of our project with you, and for that we are very grateful.
Photo Credits: Monica Szczupider
(The E-Base library is a humble attempt to open up the world of books to the students of Pench. The importance of reading for a holistic education cannot be discounted and the E-Base library strives to fill this gap that exists by bringing to the students books from all around the world. With a choice of books on biodiversity, science, environmental conservation, Gondi folktales and encyclopedias, in both, Hindi and English, the library not only augments their general awareness and knowledge of their surroundings and its relation to the world but also inculcates an appreciation for their rich Gondi roots.)