Cutting Tea Tales

Absolutely love the fun literary idea our friends at Akshara Foundation came up with to celebrate International Literacy Day.

Via The Times of India

Oblivious of worldly affairs, a gaggle of giggly kids was busy playing in a water-clogged road on Sunday morning, till something snatched their attention — books hanging from plastic pouches at the nearby chai-cum-provision stores.
Vision :"A Book in Every Child's Hand"The curious kids soon started milling around the shops in Sathya Nagar, a slum near Byappanahalli, East Bangalore. It was probably their first close encounter with books beyond classrooms. Said an elated Jeniffer A, a class VIII student of a government school, “Textbooks are the only books I had seen till now.” Flipping through their illustrative content, she added, “I am happy to find books on Subhas Chandra Bose, Adolf Hitler, and Jnanpith awardees.” Her excitement showed in the way she grabbed one title after another as if many new windows to the world had suddenly opened for her. The kids had the Akshara Foundation (AF) to thank for this. On the occasion of International Literacy Day, the NGO launched Cutting Tea Tales, an initiative to convert chai and provision stores into reading stations by providing free books. Within 30 minutes of AF volunteers placing the books in these stores, some 100 children gathered to explore the little treasure troves.
They jumped from one book to another, stopping at times to admire a picture or to marvel at the options to choose from.
“Kids who had come to purchase kites soon got lost in this world of words; some began reading them the books there and some took them home. I never thought these children would be keen on reading,” said Zabeer Ulla, a shopkeeper.
The best thing is they come in different languages, including Kannada, English, Urdu and Tamil. My parents couldn’t afford to buy me any of them.” Not just kids, the reading bug didn’t spare the youth either. Sipping on garam chai, many picked up a book or two for a quick read.
Under this initiative, shop owners will act as librarians and custodians of the donated books. Hailing the move, Shiva Kumar, a shop owner said since morning every customer who walked into his store couldn’t help but turn a few pages.

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