Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our Diwali Gifts

This Diwali weekend, we've been sharing a few lovely stories of how people and our books have been lighting up the faces of children in different places. If you missed those stories, you can read them here and here. Today, we are sharing two stories of how we're hopefully sparking off a small reading revolution in two different places.

A few weeks ago, we read about a woman called Anupama Reddy who had started day-care classes for the kids of the labourers working on the Bangalore Metro project.

For Sonali’s mother Supriya Sikdar, the fact that her little daughter trills English rhymes is a matter of pride. “None of us speak English and my daughter has learnt English rhymes. What can be more joyful?” asks the mother, who has travelled all the way from Orissa to be with her husband, a worker on Bangalore’s biggest infrastructure project, the Metro.

Ditto with Jyotsna Mohapatra, another homemaker at the Byappanahalli Metro site. She recalls her own schooling when classes are on. “With a lot of struggle, I completed Class VII in West Bengal. I want to see my daughter educated. Once the Metro work is over, we plan to settle down in Bengal and I look forward to my daughter’s education. I want my children to lead a better life than ours,” says Jyotsna, who has two children studying back in Bengal, and the youngest is with her.

Anupama Reddy is their angel. The social worker, who has done her BE, MA and MBA, is educating children of Metro workers on a voluntary basis. A year ago, she constituted her NGO ‘Anubandha’, mainly to help the children of construction workers.

She runs a day-care centre for children and engages them every day for about threeand-half hours, and also gives them a meal. “Just because these children are born into poverty-ridden families of construction workers, they are deprived of their childhood. When I first started classes in January 2010, they were indifferent to me. It took me time to convince them that they need to devote time for studies.

Anupama, who wants to take the children away from unhygienic surroundings, also dreams of starting a day-care inside a customized bus. “I want to start a virtual classroom for these children. I want to show them TV and certain videos that will help them get exposed to the outside world. Most of these children witness domestic violence caused by their alcoholic fathers, which is affecting their psyche. They must be given an opportunity to entertain themselves,’’ Anupama feels. According to her, there are hundreds of such children on different work sites of the Metro, who are not even getting basic education.
Read the entire article here. After reading this article we spoke to Anupama. She told us that the children at the site goes to can hardly read and we decided to send her some of our really simple books. Books with big pictures and simple text will hopefully fire the imaginations of these kids. Anupama called to us that she received the books a day before Diwali. Yayyy, Diwali gifts for the kiddos! Our brand manager Purvi has also sponsored story cards so that each child could actually own some storycards. We will be shipping out these storycards on Monday and we are waiting to hear about how Anupama uses the books in her classroom. If any of you want to volunteer or help Anupama and the kids in any way, you can contact her at .

The second Diwali gift we will be sending out is to an organization called Aham Bhumika. We know about Aham Bhumika through Twitter. Subrat Goswami wrote to us to inform us that the organization works to provide clothes, grain, etc to a small tribal village called Bodakho in Bhopal. The village doesn't have proper access to roads and has no electricity either. The children of this village don't have any recreational facilities and Aham Bhumika has provided a few old books that they have collected from donors in Bhopal. They asked us if we would be able to provide some Hindi books for the kids of this village. Subrat also informed us that there are about 20 kids between the age group of 8-11 years who could greatly benefit from our books. On Monday, we will be shipping out these books to these kids in Bodakho and we hope they enjoy these books as much as we enjoyed publishing them.

And our Diwali gift for all of you is the special Diwali offer we have on our books now. Click here to check out the offer and light up a face with the gift of books.

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