Last year, we were extremely excited when we were approached by IGNUS to partner with them for a project they were working on. IGNUS approached schools in and around Varanasi to see if they would be interested in receiving a PAHAL library (books, resource materials and visits by a resource person). 28 schools were chosen and Pratham Books was able to provide Hindi and English books for 25 of these schools.
In an area where children have been deprived of books, we found that children tend to read together rather than alone. They seem to draw comfort in this, sharing their reading skills or learning from others. It's a sight we love to see!
From wanting mainly to play a supportive role, community members foun
d themselves unable to keep away from the books and the readers themselves. Local youth decided to take over responsibilities and some elders decided to revive their reading careers.
Now, in October...
The programme has grown in depth, with four team members visiting the 28 schools regularly, conducting activities, supporting teachers and following children's growth. Four of our experienced colleagues provide training and academic inputs from time to time. We'd thought of conducting a baseline in September but already the children had advanced so much in so short a time that a different approach is required!
In the meantime, in mid-September, a group of 20 teachers approached our team and asked if they could get a short training on how to teach reading and use the available material and the library better - a training on demand! The teachers gathered in a school and a 5-hour session was conducted by one of our most experienced colleagues. Now, a number of SMCs have asked to be oriented on how to develop their School Development Plans.
Read the entire blog ...especially to see the lovely pictures of kids reading (plus the awesome involvement of the community).
In the 30 government schools where our libraries already run, children from underprivileged backgrounds not only read, discuss and do activities around books but also manage the libraries. In the evenings,the community runs the libraries and involves the youth. Panchayat heads have volunteered help, and teachers and HMs have asked to be trained to teach better. We have a team working with schools to improve classroom processes and there is extensive data to show that the libraries are leading to improved learning. Now, we intend to expand to 30 more schools - your help will make all the difference!Support their Donate-a-Book campaign today and lets get books to children in Varanasi.
Image Source : PAHAL library blog