“We are sure we will have enough books to build our own Great Wall of Books,” said Alka, a teacher at Maharishi Vidya Mandir. Her school is one of the many city schools that are donating books to the Aviva Great Wall of Education, presented by TheHindu, at the Express Avenue Mall in Royapettah.
Near the collection boxes placed at different spots in the school were children from the primary wing. So what kind of books are the kids donating? A range of well preserved storybooks, old textbooks, activity books, dictionaries, atlases and kids magazines filled their little hands.
“Most children in our country don't get an opportunity to go to school — they can at least learn from our books,” said Hitesh Jain, a student of Std. V. Talking about what they thought would interest children their age, Vraj Pathak said books with a lot of pictures can be fun - even if they don't know how to read, they can just look at the pictures to understand what is being said.
Each school has a different way of making announcements to its students — so what did these schools do to spread the word about the book donation drive? “Teachers' Day was just round the corner when we heard about the drive. So, this year we asked our children to bring one book each rather than a rose or a greeting card for their teachers,” said Joseph Gregory, Senior English teacher at St. Bede's School.
Chettinad Vidyashram is confident that with its massive student strength of 9,000, it would be able to donate at least 10,000 books.
Apart from that, the school by itself will donate old books and specimen copies of text books from their library, with emphasis on Tamil books. Teachers of the school have also volunteered to donate to the Aviva Great Wall of Education. Taking it a step further is Maharishi Vidya Mandir, which has roped in technology to announce the event. We have sent out SMSes and e-mails to the parents of all our students, encouraging them to donate books to the drive and we are hopeful of a fantastic response,” said R. Maheshwari, Primary In-charge, Maharishi Vidya Mandir.
With these elite schools showing concern for their underprivileged counterparts in the State, the drive is definitely giving young minds a taste of community service. As Amudha Lakshmi, Principal, Chettinad Vidyashram rightly puts it, “This is the right age for children to learn the value of sharing- and if it is books, all the better.”