Vijayawada

Novel project to push reading habit among children

Cart loaded with books set to reach schools in ANdhra Pradesh

To inculcate the love of reading in children, former journalist and Hyderabad-based businessman Sheik Sadiq Ali has embarked on a unique mission. He operates a mobile library by stacking books on a pushcart that moves around remote villages and distributes books to young children who do not have access to them.

The collection of books has all genres that cater to different tastes. “Books stimulate our imagination, curiosity and creativity, thereby enriching our lives. Realising the need to make books accessible to people at the grassroots level, I decided to take up this task,” he explains.

Why use push cart when he can afford a car or other comfortable mode of transport? “Most of my friends suggested that I fix motors to the cart or at least hire workers to push it. But I refused and chose to do it myself because I wanted to create interest among people who usually see vegetables, toys or other things sold on such four-wheeled carts. I was sure that it would raise the curiosity of kids, my target group,” he explains.

Mr. Sadiq, popular as Thopudu Bandi Sadiq, has done his Masters in Telugu from the Osmania University and his wife Usha is Joint Director in Agriculture Department. He invests in real estate and also runs an online matrimonial website and the money generated there is spent on purchase of books in bulk from publishers, most of who are generous with subsidies.

His pushcart first hit the road on February 22 at the People’s Plaza on the Necklace Road in Hyderabad in 2015, covering 350 km in the twin cities. The next year in January, the vehicle loaded with books set out with a slogan of Palle ku prematho thopudu bandi, covering about 1,000 km in 100 days across villages in Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Nalgonda, Medak and Warangal districts.

This was followed by Voorura Grandhalayam (library in every village) wherein he started libraries in 130 villages.

If his badi-badi ki thopudu bandi catered to the need of books in village schools, his Basthi lo pustakala panduga is aimed at taking books to children in summer holidays.

His next programme Adavi thalli ki akshara thoranam targets Girijan thandas in the Bhupalapalli district of Telangana, from November 27.

Foray in AP:

In collaboration with the Andhra Pradesh Library Association (APLA), Mr. Sadiq Ali now plans to expand his library facilities to children in Andhra Pradesh as well.

“Based on the route map given by the APLA, I’ll start books distribution from February 1, from Thiruvuru,” he says.

He intends to set up two godowns at Kallur which borders Thiruvuru and at Mylavaram and each of them will have stocks of books sufficient for 15-20 libraries.

“The APLA will give all possible support to him,” said Sarada Raavi, general secretary of the Association.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 10:20:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/novel-project-to-push-reading-habit-among-children/article20557567.ece

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