The mobile library by Apne Aap Women also holds storytelling sessions for the children.
Do you remember the first time you read an edition of Twinkle? Or how about, much later, when you were blown over by the sheer poetry that is God of Small Things? Books can bring joy, wonder, are the little windows to the world, and everyone must get to experience them.
With this thought in mind, NGO Apne Aap Women is gathering children on BK Pal Park in Kolkata, and giving them books to read. Why is that a big deal? Well, these kids are children of sex workers in the city’s infamous red light area, and through this exercise, introducing them to the sheer pleasure of reading.
The organisation, which works to fight child trafficking too, now has a minivan stuffed with books for the children to read and enjoy. From an abridged version of Pride and Prejudice to Jawaharlal Nehru’s biography in Hindi, the library on wheels is bursting with books from all genres, reports The Telegraph.
Understanding the importance of these children accessing books, the mobile library was launched by Apne Aap Women World, in collaboration with Apeejay Anand Children’s Library, and Coal India, on January 20 at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival.
Priti Paul, Director of Apeejay Surrendra Group, donated 500 books towards this initiative.
Now, the mobile library pulls up at Sonagachhi and Kidderpore from 2 pm to 5 pm every Monday and Wednesday for kids to come and pick up books. On Fridays, the minivan visits children of leather workers in Topsia as well.
Not just books, but also storytellers and volunteers hop on for the ride and conduct storytelling sessions.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Ruchira Gupta, Founder of Apne Aap Women World, said,
A lot of college and university students have signed up for the storyteller programme. This exercise would also instill a sense of responsibility among the children.
A Class II girl could not hold back her joy.
"I have never read an English book. It will be fun trying to read this one. The pictures are so amazing,” she said, while holding a copy of Asterix and the Chieftain’s Shield.
Another child expressed her excitement for reading. “We come here to play every evening. Only today it turned out to be different. We got to browse so many books and were even told a story. I don’t know which book to choose,” she said.