Society

A Visakhapatnam boy creates libraries for disadvantaged children during the pandemic

Back in May last year when 15-year-old Dhruv Advaith Kolagatla returned home to Visakhapatnam from his boarding school during the nationwide lockdown, books were constant companions. A bookworm since childhood, he was convinced of the power books can wield. Holed up at home, he wondered how children in orphanages and shelters would spend their time when schools were closed. It was then that he started working on the Book Drive project for the US-based not-for-profit organization, PURE (People for Urban and Rural Education).

Founded in 2016, PURE works to bring educational and livelihood opportunities for economically disadvantaged children, at-risk youth and special populations in the US and India.

550 and counting

“We reached out to people who were willing to donate books and collected over 550 last year through our social media posts,” says Dhruv, who is the director of the India chapter of PURE Youth from Visakhapatnam. In the first phase of the book collection drive, the team of PURE Youth, which comprised school students from Visakhapatnam, reached out to SOS Children’s Village Bheemunipatnam and Generation Yuvaa in Marripalem. Both centres are home to orphaned and abandoned children.

A Visakhapatnam boy creates libraries for disadvantaged children during the pandemic

“Most of these children have loads of energy, which needs to be channelised. What is better than creating a reading space for them, especially when the outdoor world is shut for them?” Dhruv says there are books of different genres including academic ones.

Second phase

After successfully setting up libraries in two centres last year, the team of PURE Youth have initiated the second phase of book collection drive to set up similar libraries in juvenile homes across Visakhapatnam. “The collection has been slower this time because of the second wave of the pandemic. We have so far been able to collect 150 books,”

The organisation, that includes eight student members, has also been carrying out projects to support those affected by the pandemic. Last year, during the migrant workers crisis, Dhruv started the Clothes for Confidence initiative to collect clothes for migrant workers who passed through the region.

“The situation in the second wave is different and deeply distressing. We have seen several senior citizens living alone in the city struggling to find information.”

The team is currently supporting, coordinating information for patients and their families in search of hospitals, beds, oxygen cylinders, ICU, food, shelter and quarantine centres. The organisation has also set up two dedicated helplines with COVID-related information in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 9:04:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/a-visakhapatnam-boy-creates-libraries-for-disadvantaged-children-during-the-pandemic/article34550732.ece

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