Uttarakhand is a beautiful state but as they say it is easier to appreciate the beauty in things from a distance, the same goes for this state. Uttarakhand is 80% mountains and geographically very difficult especially for a child who needs to get a quality education. The schools in Shama, a place in the Kapkote block of Bageshwar district, Uttarakhand, are between 6900 feet to 7800 feet high. This is the location in which some of us fellows from the Gandhi fellowship are intervening to improve the state of affairs in schools, whether it is about empowering the headmaster, the teachers or adding value to the school by improving infrastructure, mobilizing resources etc. We noticed that children sometimes have to trek almost two hours to get to school. Their headmasters and teachers try hard and use their experience to add value to their education but because of the lack of resources they don’t get as much exposure as they should get. The child’s life revolves around their family, farms and school in a remote community of a remote village. It is hard to understand the ways of the world in such a scenario. In such a case a multidimensional library makes a big difference to help add exposure.
1.There are very few books available and scattered throughout the school. Also, there is no such space that can be termed as a Library.
2.The moisture in the walls and the atmosphere tend to spoil the books that are kept out. On the other hand, they catch dust and small mites and silver fish tend to settle in them. This only means that the books are not being used as much as they should, so there is a need for a proper reading system in the child’s weekly schedule.
3.When the books get dirty, they are stored in boxes and kept aside. Unfortunately they are eventually forgotten.
Need for a more permanent solution:
1.Reading is the most basic skill needed to increase the student learning outcome of the child. It will not only affect how they learn in school, but it also gives the child exposure to the outside world.
2.The Library is a space where not only are books read but also kept in an organized manner. Without that space, it will be difficult to inculcate a reading habit.
3.The library space needs to look interesting and approachable. The children should be motivated to read rather than be overwhelmed by books.
How will we create a more permanent solution?
1.We spoke to the headmasters and the teachers of 14 schools of a place called Shama in the Jamuakhal cluster in Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand. The conversation was about the importance of reading and a plea to allot a small space in any one of the classrooms of the school as a library section. We managed to convince all 14 headmasters.
2.We will paint that section a completely different color and make sure the words Library are in bold on the wall. Psychologically that becomes the Library space where books will be read. The wall will also be painted with material that can be used to teach children certain concepts that they are learning in class.
3.Funds that we generate will be used to purchase paint, brushes and make a simple and inexpensive cupboard for the books to keep them safe from dust and moisture. Some of the funds will be used to purchase more books for the library.