The great Book Wall at Ansal Plaza in South Delhi is coming up well. Launched on Wednesday — National Education Day — this joint initiative by Hindustan Times and Aviva aims to bring books to street children.
People from different walks of life are dropping in with their old books to help educate thousands of underprivileged children who cannot afford to go to schools.
Before placing the first volume — a story book - on the site, Delhi Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, the chief gust, said: “I appeal to all Delhiites as well as all Indians to contribute in a big way.”
The opening ceremony was attended by TR Ramachandran, chief operating officer (CEO) of Aviva India; Thomas Chandy, CEO of Save the Children NGO; Neeraj Jain, finance director of children's publishing house Scholastic India; Ashok Jain of handmade Paper World and HT Resident Editor Yashwant Raj.
The five-day-long enterprise will culminate on Monday when the books will be handed over to Save the Children, the NGO. They would then be passed on to those children who cannot pay for any reading material.
“Some children aren’t lucky to be born in well-off families,” said Ashish Nair, a Class VIII student of Mount Carmel School, Anand Niketan, who had come with his classmates.
“It’s great if we can do our bit to get some books to them. And yes, we don't have to give only old books. We can even buy new books for these donations,” he added.
The first day also saw cricketer Ajay Jadeja.
“I request all the privileged people to give away their spare books lying unread in the shelves and help build this wall,” he said, adding, “My son has grown up so I will pass on his old books here.”
Already, 10,000 books have been added to the wall by Scholastic India.
HT PACE, an HT school newspaper and education programme, has also placed donation boxes at about 300 schools. Some early books making up the wall were Elements of Vedic Astrology and Science of Self-Realization.
“Besides the elementary books, I also want street children to read Enid Blyton novels,” said Aashi Jain, a Class VII student of Sadhu Vasvani International School. “Blyton’s books are always engaging, simply written and have easy English.”