A reading room for India's poor

CNC
Added On June 17, 2017

Poverty can restrict so much in life, and prove devastating for children.
 
But in the Indian capital of New Delhi, an enthusiastic community library project... is helping open up the reading experience for all children, no matter what their background.
 
Let's take a look.
 
SOUNDBITE: KARAN, Local child
"I come to this library daily. I have been visiting this library for the past 2 years. I have read 100 books here so far . I really like this library. When I feel like reading, I come to the reading room or get a book issued for home. "
 
SOUNDBITE: PRAPTI GUPTA, Local child
"I feel good and I learn from here so much things. This library is so good ." 
 
Opened in 2016, the Community Library Project has been providing a place for children's imaginations ever since.
 
According to Shomi who volunteers, just getting the children in the door is considered a win.
 
SOUNDBITE:SHOMI DASGUPTA,Volunteer, Community Library Project
"It's very enriching experience because it is quite tough because we come from a very different background, we come from a middle class background and we've been to good schools and we have a good financial background. But specifically, for this community, where they are coming from, where the children are coming from, it's very difficult. They have very difficult home condition. I am sure its quite a struggle for them to even come to school. So in addition to school, trying to build additional reading habits, I think it's wonderful. And challenging because I think you have to constantly adapt to the situation." 
 
On the library's shelves is a rich collection of English books.
 
But the teachers often choose Hindi, the local language, in order to connect with the students better.
 
In a special programme for 3-4 year old kids, teachers tell the stories using exaggerated body-language and facial expressions, to hook the little ones in. 
 
Aside from just reading, the project also tries to be a place of general creativity, as the Librarian Upali explains.
 
SOUNDBITE: UPALI BHOWMICK, Librarian
"Community library isn't just a place to read books. We have many workshops here. We have book clubs, discussion groups amongst children, even workshops on various art forms. Now, we want to expand our programme  across India. We want everyone in India to be able to use a library. We want people to understand that library is not something to be admired from a distance. We want people to have access to books."
 
SOUNDBITE:RATI AGNIHOTRI, CNC correspondent
"Promoting reading habits and love for books amongst children is a vital part of any education system. For many children in India who do not have access to books or a reading culture or are 1st generation learners, this unique community library initiative in Indian capital Delhi provides the right atmosphere to read and write and creatively idea and flourish ".