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Mobile library for children in remote India

Jan 11, 2010

A unique mobile library Boi Gari engaging local children in eastern India is generating literacy in rural areas. Children traveling into different localities not only read out stories to the poor kids, but also teach them how to read.

Kolkata: In a unique initiative, children in Kolkata, are distributing books free of cost to children residing in rural areas to help educate them, and inculcate the reading habit in them.

Surojit Das, Shintu Das, Subha Das, Ayush Chettri and Gaurav Das, all of whom are young school students, have taken the responsibility of delivering books to poor children.

"There are many children in my locality who want to study but due to their financial difficulties, they are not able to go to school. This mobile library has given them an opportunity to read many books, so that they can do well in future," said Surojit Das.

These children fill up a cycle van of second-hand books and take the van to several rural areas. Every Wednesday they drive their mobile library, aptly named 'Boi Gari', (Books Van), and distribute the books to children in the rural areas.

11 Pally Unnayan Samity, a local club, started this novel service in 2007.The club engaged local children to take the responsibility of spread literacy to other children in the area.

The club bought the cycle-van and stuffed it with around 150 books to create a free mobile library.

"To grow interest, we thought that only children should be engaged to take this initiative ahead. Now these kids do all the work, they ride in the van, take it to different localities and distribute books. They go to each house and call out to the little children to take the books," said Prasun Dey, Secretary of 11 Pally Unnayan Samity.

The children running the mobile library not only read out stories to the poor children but also teach them how to read themselves.

Welcoming the effort, locals said a mobile library service was a novel and innovative idea to make children literate.

"There are many poor unfortunate people who do not have the money to buy books. But I think this way, all people and all children will get a chance to rise up in life. The best part about this initiative is that it is not being executed by grown-ups, but little kids who have got together. It's a thing to be proud of," said Supratik Bhanja, a resident.

English and Bengali primers, titles on nursery rhymes and storybooks chiefly make up the contents of the mobile library.

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