Swathi Ram sent out this lovely note with the pictures which talks about the work they do and the children’s reaction when they saw the books.
“Tucked inside the Happy Valley Residential Society in Bengaluru is a little sheet-roofed building, serving as a day school for children of the nearby migrant workers. An empty plot converted into an educational space by constructing a small shed and making it suitable for conducting classes, this non-formal school caters to nearly 30 kids who attend school from 10 am to 1 pm every day.
The idea was born as a result of repeated encounters YFS volunteer Smt. Latha Rao had with the children of construction workers, who were found whiling away time in construction sites and her firm belief that education is the only way to moral as well as intellectual development.
The project started with much enthusiasm was hard to implement because of the pressure faced by the children to drop-out. Most parents wanted these kids to stay back home to look after their younger siblings (Yes, a 4-5 year old is expected to look after an infant/ toddler!). To reduce the drop-out levels, it was necessary to educate the parents of these children on the importance of education. We also had to cater to all the needs of the kids including clean drinking water, mid-day meals etc.., as well as make the classroom colourful and attractive to get them to school day after day. The parents now send their children to this non-formal school run by YFS, where children are provided with basic education that helps them later enroll in a full-time government school.
The books provided by Pratham Books would go a long way in keeping their interest in coming to school at an all-time-high. Just take the example of the day we had chosen to show them the books and distribute it to them, so that they could read them at home and get them back. It was a Saturday, which is mostly allotted for games and they are the happiest because they get to play in the park within the community. But just the mention of *new story books* which had been sent specially for them made them sit still inside the school, with that twinkle in their eyes. When I entered the school with the books, they started dancing in joy with cheers of ‘Miss’, ‘Books’, ‘Nanage ( “for me” in Kannada)’, ‘Yay’ etc.. filling the air. It was a spectacle.
New books are a rarity for them. They mostly see old, used ones brought home by their mothers who work in other homes. Books which they cannot read because they are in English, or because they are beyond their level of comprehension. People do not spare a thought while donating books. But here, they had new books – in Kannada and English, and they had volunteers who would help them read and understand them too. What else does a child need? Small things make them happy, like these books did. And for that, we thank you all once again. For having made us a part of your movement, for supporting us in our cause, and more importantly for the smiles on those little faces 🙂 “
Thank you for setting up a campaign on Donate-a-Book Team IMC. You and our kind donors are responsible for the unadulterated joy visible in the pictures below.