The gift of knowledge

A website introduces donors of books to those in need

Published - July 14, 2017 12:49 am IST

A news item that Mrunal Jitendra Bajaj saw in 2015 touched her deeply, and gave her life a new meaning. The news was about a boy in Class IX who committed suicide as he had no money to buy textbooks.

It prompted her to start a portal, , for people wishing to donate books and those in need of books. All transactions on the website are free.

“Every house has a stock of old books that are rarely used. Due to space constraints, many sell these to scrap dealers at throwaway prices. While some of us wish to give them to the needy, we are not aware of where we can donate them,” says Ms. Bajaj.

Ms. Bajaj, now a Class XII Commerce student of Saraswati Secondary High School, Thane, has been running the website for two years. Around 587 customers have registered on and nearly 125 books are listed on it, most of them in the educational category.

For inspiration, Ms. Bajaj didn’t have to look beyond her family. Her grandfather, Sudhakar Bajaj, is a freedom fighter while her parents, Jitendra Bajaj and Reema Bajaj have been running a free educational institution for underprivileged children in Thane since 1994. “I have seen the financial constraints faced by such children up close; particularly how difficult it becomes for them to buy textbooks,” says Ms. Bajaj.

How it works

A very simple registration process is required to list the books one wishes to donate. Once the registration process is complete, the donor can post the images of the books.

Books can be listed in different categories and sub categories. In the educational category, for instance, there are the standard (class) and medium sub-categories.

“This is done to make the task easier for the user,” says Suyog Vaze, Director and CEO of Techspiron Systems, that developed the website.

“The quality of book can be rated and multiple images can be uploaded,” he says. The listing is verified by the administrator and activated later to ensure the authenticity of the listing and the user.

“The user who wants a particular book can search for it by typing its name or using the filter option available on the home page or book category section. If you are a registered member, you can see the contact details of the person and the location,” says Ms. Bajaj.

While contacting the donor, the user needs to mention that she got the number from the site and the donor has to give the listed book free of cost.

A boon to many

The website has helped more than just school students. Ravi Shetty, who is now in his second year of MCom, received nearly three books when he was studying for his BCom through the site. “I have in turn given those books to my friends in need.” He says the website has helped many students who are unable to buy books due to financial constraints and have to solely rely on libraries, which at times are far from their homes.

Says Tanvi Kemse, a second-year student of Business Management Studies, KV College, Thane, “I was able to get a book on Law last year, which was helpful to me. This site really makes us value books more and encourages us to donate them after use.”

Ms. Bajaj has not so far kept a record of the number of transactions on the website, considering they were all free of cost, but intends to do so now. There is also a plan to develop a platform for students who are searching for schools and colleges in their area.

The ultimate aim

“We desire to make it an educational listing portal and to connect students with professors of various institutes to enable them to ask their questions directly on chat,” says Ms. Bajaj. The ultimate aim, she says, is, “No student from India should ever be deprived of education simply because they are unable to purchase books.”

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