Buguri, a community library initiative, aims at helping children spin stories and formulate ideas. What makes this initiative particularly special is that these aren't just any children, but the sons and daughters of waste pickers, who are often neglected and ignored by 'mainstream' society.
Hasirudala, a Bengaluru-based NGO working with waste pickers, started the library last year on the second floor of an old age home in Banashankari, in an area where a large number of them reside. Talking about the motive behind the initiative to The News Minute, Pallavi Chander, an art therapist and volunteer at Buguri, said,
“These children come from very difficult backgrounds. This space is for them to read and learn through stories. Here, they can temporarily step away from the realities of their daily lives and into the world of imagination.”
Most of the children attending Buguri don't know to read properly, but that doesn't stop them from visiting, as it is not a 'regular' library where they are expected to sit quietly and read. They can just scroll through the pages, pick random words they want to know the meanings of and the volunteers will help them.
The students come every week from Wednesday to Saturday, and Buguri's volunteers talk to them about the themes of the stories they read or look through pictures of.
The children are encouraged to talk about the problems they face on a day-to-day basis and the volunteers aim to provide solutions through the stories' themes. Though the community library has been set up in a small space, it was difficult to find even that as most people do not want waste pickers' children on their property.
The children are also taught art and craft and given sessions on art therapy and collage making. According to The Economic Times, Nalini Shekhar, Co-founder of Hasirudala, said,
“They are all first-generation learners. Even those who go to school do not have reading levels equal to other kids their age. Unless you make learning interesting and relevant, it is tough for them to show interest."
Though their parents cannot help with the children's education, they do all they can to ensure that they get to attend school. In the one year since the community library initiative has come into being, parents have noticed an increased interest to attend school among their children.
Image Credit: The News Minute