Here's a group of youngsters who are making a difference in the lives of the underprivileged with books.

After you read a book, why not share it with the Open Books Project, an initiative by city-based Orange Leaf? This was started by Varsha G, a Chinmaya Vidyalaya student and her friends a year ago, and it aims to help children who cannot afford books. They not only distribute the books but also read stories to the children. Open Books Project enables students to teach others while they learn. As part of the project the students visit schools and collect books from them and read it to the kids in orphanages. The team usually reads books which range from comics to history to fables.

The young team has read stories to students in Joy Home for Children (Marredpally), Prem Sadan (Amberpet) and Rainbow Home (RTC Crossroads), in the past few months and they look forward to creating a difference in many more lives. Open Books members aim to reach more orphanages in the future.

“I strongly believe that students my age should take up such projects because we are infinitely optimistic,” says Varsha, founder, Open Books.

The project is run entirely by schoolchildren who are enthused about making a difference to the society. Students from many city schools are part of the project, including Chinmaya Vidyalaya and Obul Reddy. “We will be having student members from Hyderabad Public School (Ramanthapur) and Nasr Public School as well,” says Varsha.

Main areas

The project has two essential work areas – organising book donation drives to distribute the same to needy children, and helping children in orphanages, opening up a new world of books, literature and general knowledge to them. Books that are collected by these young volunteers include novels, story books, comics and classics.

Volunteers also make educational video on lessons learnt at their respective schools and use it to improve the children's communication skills at the orphanages. They spare a few hours every week with these children.

Apart from reading stories, they teach English, provide computer training, conduct a book reading session, quiz, dumb charades and so on.

Amrutha, a little girl at Rainbow Home says, “we love book reading sessions. We look forward to their visit. Each time they come up with good books.” Many children like Amrutha await new friends. Spread the word in your school, organise book donations.

You can also be a part of this group and make a difference. Send an e-mail to theorangeleaf@gmail.com.