Visakhapatnam

Library on wheels for slum children

Reaching out: Children from Jalaripeta near Fishing Habour reading books at the mobile library of WNS Cares Foundation in Visakhapatnam on Monday.

Reaching out: Children from Jalaripeta near Fishing Habour reading books at the mobile library of WNS Cares Foundation in Visakhapatnam on Monday.   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

It is equipped with 4G internet facility to introduce digital tech to them

Nine-year-old K. Sai, resident of Peda Jalaripeta, is a school dropout. Apart from helping his father in the fishing harbour, he dedicates three hours in a week to reading books in a colourful van. The van that arrives in his locality every week is the most awaited sight for Sai and many other children living in the fishing colony of Peda Jalaripeta. For, it is this bus that opens up a world of fantasy, scientific inventions and many magical historical chapters before them. Thanks to an initiative by WNS Cares Foundation (WCF), mobile library carrying more than 1,000 books, has been reaching out to children in slums in the city with an aim to bring about a transformation in the lives of the children from the underprivileged sections.

This novel initiative was first started in Mumbai in 2014 and later expanded to cities such as Chennai, Pune, Visakhapatnam and Nasik. With a total fleet of eight vans across the cities, the mobile library has so far reached out to over 8000 children in underserved areas. In Visakhapatnam, the initiative that was launched four months ago has already covered areas like Madhurawada Kalanagar, Pedda Jalaripeta Ferry Road, Markavalasa, Port Area Jalirepeta, Madhurwada Wamway Colony and Jodigudapalem. A teacher travels with each mobile library to teach the basic academic concepts to children. WCF refurbishes old vans and converts them into ‘libraries on wheels’. In Visakhapatnam, Surendra Revu travels with the van to remote areas and turns the van into a mini school by teaching the kids the basics of various subjects.

Speaking to The Hindu about the initiative, Shamini Murugesh, Honorary Chief Mentor, WNS Cares Foundation said: “The idea is to take education to the doorsteps of the children. Each mobile library is equipped with a solar inverter, fan and an umbrella for the kids to spread out. Children are also provided clean drinking water through water dispensers. In addition to this, the van also has a computer supported by a 4G Internet connection with the purpose of exposing the children to the world of technology and giving them access to more reading material. State Board course curriculum in a digital format is given in each of these vans to aid learning for children.”

The children are encouraged to take the books home and return them during subsequent weekly visits of the van, just the way a library functions. In Mumbai, WCF has four mobile libraries that reach out to children in areas like Dharavi, one of the world’s largest slums.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:53:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/library-on-wheels-for-slum-children/article17381200.ece

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