KOCHI: For some 40 odd techies at Technopark, a typical day starts early morning in their cubicles, but goes well into the night, collecting books from across the city, rummaging through them, sorting and readying them to be transferred to government schools in the city. Titled ‘#bookathon smiles ahead Vision 20-20’, a group of techies is pioneering a movement to open up new horizons to children by initiating them into the world of reading. The team recently received a mighty surprise, when they received 1,100 books, from the personal collection of founder-chairman of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Wadakanchery Kendra Sivaswamy Gangadhar, furthering their cause.
The initiative by the techies of NGOs Tejus, HANDS and Technopark intends to mobilise 50,000 books from the community and set up 120 libraries in government schools, orphanages, and start community libraries across the state, as part of its first phase. With six libraries and 2904 books donated hitherto, the techies are slowly inching their way to making notable changes in the community. More than 7000 books have been collected via donations till date and the books have been donated to the PEPF Community Library in Thenmala, Nilavu Public Library in Nedumangadu, Sahridhaya Samsarika Samiti and three Lower Primary (LP) schools in Chenkottukonam, Kottur and Alummoodu.
It all started when techie Ram Kumar, a native of Thenmala identified the lack of enough resource centres in his place. “Thenmala is a highly remote place with not enough facilities for the residents to further their knowledge. So either they have to come to the city or generate knowledge via reading to know more about the goings on in the world. This propelled me to launch the initiative there,” says Ram who works at Pit solutions. His idea found resonance among like-minded individuals such as Brijesh, co-founder of Tejus and other techies. ‘#bookathon smiles ahead Vision 20-20’ was thus born.
The PEPF Community Library in Thenmala was the first to be set up, that too from scratch. Set up seven months ago, the library with more than 700 donated books, functions from the houses of two volunteers of the initiative. “We didn’t even have the infrastructure to house the books. Now we obtained a space for rent and the library will start functioning from there,” he adds.
Children’s books, colouring books, fiction, magazines, reference books, anything that furthers knowledge can be donated, he adds. The team has just finished donating books to a study centre in Kanyakumari. “Earlier, we started collecting books for children. But when we saw that the parents of children also started utilising the libraries, we spread out to include magazines. For those living in remote areas such as Kottur and Thenmala, avenues to accumulate knowledge is very limited. By targeting the parents, knowledge can be disseminated to a large community,” says Ram.
Anyone willing to donate the books needs only call the volunteers or share the details via their website and the volunteers would arrive and collect the books. The team aims to expand their initiative to reach out to the remotest of areas across the state. “Ever since the launch of the initiative, we have understood that there are several needy segments and we intend to reach out to them,” he adds.