R. Sujatha

Innovative programme for village children shows good results

CHENNAI: Around 180 student writers, aged 8-14, from across the State will participate in a knowledge festival this weekend at Chennai. The participants qualified in a short story writing contest held by an NGO working with village school children.

The NGO Aid-India, which pioneered the `Padippum Inikkum' project that the Government recently implemented, held the contest.

Some time ago, the organisation conceived the Eureka Village Library, with the aim of improving literacy among the poor children in villages. Around 1,800 villages now have 80,000 children as members. A local volunteer goes from house to house carrying story cards and four-page comics in a bag. To ensure interest, the NGO developed illustrated story cards and one-page stories, with short, simple sentences. "They are extremely popular with children. Most children love to read them again and again," says Balaji Sampath, secretary of Aid India.

Each village is initially given a bag with 50 books and 30 story cards. During periodic visits, the library coordinators organise magic shows, games, art, origami and toy making. Aid-India is at New no.34, Rathenam Street, Gopalapuram, Chennai 600086. Ph: 28350403/42106493.