Open Hearts Open Books and taking Cinderella to schools

18th Oct 2014
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Tamil Government High School, Chikpet
Tamil Government High School, Chikpet

Round Table is an international social networking and charitable organisation. Part of this organisation, in India, is to promote freedom through education by building classrooms, distribution of stationary and art material, conducting development workshops, career counselling workshops, etc. Ladies Circle (India) is a sister organisation of Round Table’s where women get together to network and engage in social work. And, they’ve been getting together since conception to create social change in India. With this endeavour comes their latest campaign Open Hearts Open Books (OHOB).

Here at YourStory, we spoke to Tulsi Khemka about their fundraiser Open Hearts Open Books to introduce the many underprivileged students of India to the witching and vivid world of books.

On the children deprived of stories and learning material, Khemka says, ‘They were missing out on the magical journey of Alice in Wonderland to adventures solved by Nancy Drew to magical transformation of Cinderella.

This led to the thought of Open Hearts Open Books, requesting avid lovers of books to contribute the books they have already read to these kids to let them enjoy the joy of reading.

This year, we plan to take this project to new heights, by opening 10 libraries in the next 9 months.

OHOB’s also introducing their newest scheme Adopt a Library. With as little as a paltry Rs 1000 per month, anyone can adopt a library in the city or village, and OHOB will provide new books to this library on a monthly basis. The library, this way, gets periodically and constantly updated.

In less than 2 years, OHOB has set up 6 libraries with a donation of 3000 books. Of these libraries, one sits in Nepal. They’ve had numerous book drives in the past, with the bulk of the donations being made by members of Mindtree through their foundation and the Koramangala Club.

50 books for 45 kids
50 books for 45 kids

This time, OHOB has a bigger plan for the next 9 months.

Khemka says, ‘We want to collect 5000 books for 10 mid-size libraries. This will be a combination of both adopt a library and also donation of books.

What may be of utmost interest to people is that OHOB receives no profits from its fundraiser. Because, everyone has their own jobs, the work done as part of OHOB is purely charitable. People take time out of their lives to manage the logistics of receiving thousands of books, sorting them and distributing to the libraries they deem important.

Our fundraising is unique since as an organization Round Table and Ladies Circle believe in 0% admin to any funds raised towards charity,’ says Khemka. She adds, ‘All admin and related expenses are executed and managed by the members. Further, the book drive helps people share the joy of sharing books they have already experienced, and not just sell it to their kabadi guy.

But, the job does come with its own odd days, like IT technicians donating manuals that are of literally no use to the students OHOB targets: Kindergarten to 10th grade.

The books donated are primarily English and Kannada.

When we spoke to the teachers, they said that the children want to read. But, they don’t have the resources to get these books. So, that’s where we come,’ says Khemka.

Their first library was inaugurated by Mr Kimmane Rathnakar, the Honourable Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka. The book drive saw a donation of 1000 to support village libraries.

Storytelling workshop at Parikrama School
Storytelling workshop at Parikrama School

OHOB goes the extra mile by helping schools set libraries from scratch. This includes, furniture, stacking, providing stationary items that students might need and helping staff in these schools maintain database. They believe in a holistic approach towards introducing activities and more books into schools that cannot afford them. This essentially includes setting up storytelling workshops for students, donating computers and even establishing sports clubs.

Khemka adds, ‘Today we are requesting for support of all readers to contribute books they have already read, corporates to let us run book drives at their premises, and also patrons who wish to adopt a library.

The fundraiser plans to put up spots in the city where people can easily donate books. To know more, you can keep yourself updated with information on their latest fundraisers on the initiative’s Facebook page.

You may contact them at openheartsopenbooks@gmail.com

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