ERODE: The power of youth can never be underestimated. Their tenacity of purpose can ignite a movement towards realising a dream. And, when they channelise their energy in the right direction, they are a step closer to accomplishing wonders.
When the nationwide lockdown kicked into force, the people of Komarapalayam panchayat in Sathyamangalam had little choice other than take refuge inside their houses like crores of others.
But, the question was how to gainfully use the time they had in their hands. That is when the youth of the village took the matter into their hands.
A group of 30 youths decided to venture out and bring about a change. After hours of brainstorming, they had a spark: Build a library from scratch. R Vignesh, a college student, was one of the volunteers pulling off the task at the oddest of times. “When the lockdown was announced, we were left with nothing to do. We set up a meeting over the internet to find out ways to efficiently use the time. The brainstorming helped us come up with the idea of a common library for the villagers,” he says.
Now that the aim was clear, a person to helm the project was required. Leadership came from Vinoth, a bank employee. “Most of the elderly people in our village are uneducated. Having seen their struggles, we decided that the youth must have sound education to rake up their skills to become employable. Many competitive exam aspirants neither have the resources nor the guidance to make it big. This will go a long way in encouraging and inspiring the younger ones at the schools.”
The leadership part settled, the do-gooders now had to find the infrastructure and resources. Enthusiastic officials did not let red-tapism get into the way of a good cause and immediately allowed the youth to convert a common hall into the library. Work began in the right earnest in April. While they worked shoulder to shoulder, they followed the norms of social distancing in letter and spirit. Where did the money come from? It was pooled by the youngsters themselves. They broke their nest-egg without a second thought for a good cause. Books too came from donors.
P Karunakaran, another college-going youth, says: “Each of us donated books. At present, there are over 150 titles. Our efforts have been well-received, and now many donors have expressed willingness to sponsor books.”
What good is the library without patronage? Well, that aspect too has been taken care of. Initiatives such as planting saplings, setting up bird feeders, and cleaning the locality gained enough attention that even villagers started chipping in. The spick and span public toilets and conked out motors tapping water too are the result of the collective effort of the youth. A nursery and a yoga centre are on the cards. A YouTube channel titled ‘Nalaya Nadalumandram’ is documenting their activities during the lockdown.
The library was inaugurated on June 7 by the villagers. The Director of Rights Education and Development Centre (NGO) took part in the ceremony and appreciated the efforts of the youth.
From personal savings
A group of 30 youths have set up a library with funds from their savings. They converted a common hall in the village into a library, and followed norms of social distancing while setting it up. Each one of them donated books and the library, at present, has over 150 titles