Empowering differently-abled children through reading

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Kozhikode, is launching ‘Koottu koodan pusthakachangathi’, to mark Reading Day on June 19.

The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Kozhikode, is launching ‘Koottu koodan pusthakachangathi’, to mark Reading Day on June 19.

Shadiya P.K. is an avid reader of fiction. This Class 9 student of Government Higher Secondary School, Narikkuni, was all excited on Saturday as she is going to meet M. Mukundan, one of the most popular writers in Malayalam, on Monday.

What sets apart the usual ‘reader-meets-writer’ narrative here is that Shadiya is a differently-abled child, and Mr. Mukundan is launching ‘Koottukoodan pusthakachangathi’, a book donation initiative of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Kozhikode, for children with special needs, on the day.

A.K. Abdul Hakkeem, district programme officer, SSA, who is a writer himself, said it was part of the Reading Day celebrations to mark the death anniversary of P.N. Panicker, the pioneer of library movement in the State. “What we have in mind is a large-scale programme to inculcate reading habit among the thousands of differently-abled children in the district. The first task is to set up a library having 100 books in the house of each of 150 bed-ridden children in Kozhikode,” he said.

Mr. Hakkeem said the SSA would seek the help of various teachers’ associations, students’ organisations, block resource centres (BRC), libraries, and the State Library Council to donate books for the purpose. A meeting will be convened at the end of the month to form 15 sub-committees in each BRC, through which books can be handed over. A district-level committee will oversee their work. Individuals and organisations may donate books.

“We have written to prominent writers requesting them to send us their author’s copies. We are in touch with the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and the Bhasha Institute too,” said Mr. Hakkeem. “The plan is to set up libraries by December 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities,” he added.

The initiative also aims at sensitising parents about the need to develop reading culture among their wards. “Some differently-abled children may not be in a position to read on their own. In that case, the parents will be persuaded to read stories for them. The parents may have their own set of personal dilemmas to deal with. Our effort is to ensure that they are not alone in their struggles for survival,” said Mr. Hakkeem. Workshops, creative discussions and presentation of stories have been planned.

At Monday’s event, Mr. Mukundan will symbolically hand over some of his noted works, such as Mayyazhippuzhayude Theerangalil, to the children and speak to them.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2022 1:40:44 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/empowering-differently-abled-children-through-reading/article19096866.ece