Friday, April 3, 2015

Walking Bookfairs

Heard of the wonderful work being done by Walking Bookfairs?

Image Credit : Walking Bookfairs
Kasturi Ray tells us more about this initiative (via The New Indian Express)

Books are considered man’s best friend but that books could also make two individuals friends for life was proved when Akshaya Routray, 33, and Satabdi Mishra, 31, met at a book store and decided to make books accessible to people living even in remote areas of the State. Their common interest in the cause made them quit their careers and start Walking Bookfairs, an open kiosk or a mobile book store that can operate at any place, with all kinds of story books, for people of any age group to buy or browse through.

“A common tendency is to promote story books and not text books. Be it in schools or home, many people insist that children read only the textbooks. But we have stories that need to be read, for these stories carry immense values. We thought it becomes our responsibility to promote reading of story books because this is something missing in our society be it in urban or rural areas,’’ explain the duo.

Once during a pleasure trip to Koraput district, both the youngsters, being avid readers, felt it was places like this that need to be told about the kind of books that are available for youngsters. “We decided to start our project from Koraput. We carried books in backpacks and spread those on even pavements and roadsides in the remote villages. We never thought about the response but we were pleasantly surprised to see that people were immediately drawn towards our stall. Children came in large numbers and they said they were seeing story books for the first time,’’ said Akshaya with a smile. They have covered 22 out of 30 districts in the State exhibiting books of all genres and for all ages in the past one-and-a-half years.

Reminiscing about some happy incidents, Satabdi recalls when author Ruskin Bond came to their stall in Bhubaneswar on a footpath opposite Ram Mandir. “We could not believe it. But there were very few people who recognised him. He was so happy that he said he could take this idea to places and talk about it. It was a big day for us,” says Satabdi. Akshaya recollects another incident, where in a remote village, they had laid out books for the display and one young boy on a tricycle, hardly 10 years old, frequented the stall everyday and bought two to three books every single day. “That was heart warming and gave us satisfaction. These students don’t otherwise get to read world stories and if we can provide them with books, our aim is achieved,’’ they say.

Read the entire article. Follow their work here and here.

You can also hear Akshaya and Satabdi share their experience of taking books to the masses and how books can be influential in shaping up our lives.

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