Dulkal, an NGO distributes books to students in rural areas through its mobile libraries

Every week, Udayalakshmi R travels from her hometown in Kanchipuram district to Vengalathur village armed with cartons filled with books. “There are 150 children in the village eagerly awaiting me. It is heart-warming to see their enthusiasm to read,” she says. Udayalakshmi is a teacher and has been making this trip for the past eight months as part of the Mobile Library project by Dulkal, a Chennai-based NGO. The organisation focusses on making books accessible to children in rural areas.

“We distribute books to 2,200 children through 25 mobile libraries across the State. We have tied up with an NGO called Centre for Justice and Peace to distribute books in 14 villages including Vepparai and Vadakku Paramedu in Pollachi,” says Karthikeyan T, the founder.

Dulkal, an NGO distributes books to students in rural areas through its mobile libraries

Dulkal was set up in 2019 in Chennai with a core team of five professionals from various fields including engineering, IT and education. “Our first project was a school library at Anayeri village in Tiruvannamalai,” says Karthikeyan. Initially, volunteers from the organisation pooled in money to buy books. Gradually, they started getting support from donors and, over the next two months, collected over 1,000 books. “Soon, we did a similar project at Vengalathur Government High School in Kanchipuram,” says Karthikeyan. The NGO has a team to select age-appropriate short stories, novels, magazines and biographies in Tamil and English for children of ages four to 18. “Our school libraries can also be accessed by children living in nearby villages. We have teachers who volunteer to maintain the register and conduct regular sessions on storytelling, art and craft and simple science experiments for kids in the locality,” he says.

After lockdown Dulkal introduced the concept of mobile libraries. “With children unable to go to school due to the pandemic, we decided to take books to their homes. We identified rural communities and got volunteers from the locality. Each takes around 200 books with them during a visit to the village,” he explains. Once read, the books are returned to the volunteer to be redistributed in another village. “These engagements are also important to prevent students from dropping out of school,” he adds.

In addition to setting up libraries, the Dulkal team creates audio books for visually-challenged children. “We have completed around 50 books so far. We also organise weekly online book talks where we discuss a particular book,” says Karthikeyan. They have also set up a call centre for the LGBTQI+ community in association with Aniyam Foundation to help with their psychological, legal and medical needs. The team is now working on creating community libraries in Gummidipoondi and Palavakkam near Chennai. “We are planning to curate 2,000 books and hope to open the libraries by December,” he says.

Call 8825773907 for details.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 7:28:20 PM |

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