A unique roaming library, that carries books on cycles across some of south Kolkata slums, has allowed underprivileged children to read and stay in touch with studies. An initiative by NGO CRY, Kitabo ki Pitara — the roaming library run by local children aged 11-19 years — has been flagged off in ward number 80 in Taratala, as part of a project funded by Vesuvius India Limited.
A bunch of youngsters from the area, trained by CRY, have been criss-crossing five slums of the Kolkata Port Trust Colony since September 6, encouraging children to join. A particular day of the week is designated as ‘library day’ when the cycles do the rounds, handing over books to children. CRY field workers have trained 105 youngsters who are running the library with four trunks of books.
Trina Chakrabarti, regional director, east, said, “Many underprivileged students suffered in the last one-and-a-half-years. Some were forced to drop out of school during lockdown. Kitabo ki Pitara has let them stay in touch with studies. We have story books in three languages donated by people.”
The initiative has helped many, like Madhu Kumari, who came to Kolkata three years ago and didn’t know how to sign her name. After being roped in as a library coordinator, she can now read and write and goes around her area on a cycle distributing books to kids. Similarly, Mani Balmiki, a Class V student, dropped out during lockdown last year. Mani has now started reading again after almost a year.
Asim Ghosh, assistant general manager, CRY, said, “The place where we have initiated the project is not ideal for books and studies. So, we are trying to create an area where children can feel safe.”
Source: Times of India