After her father-in-law died two years ago, Aanchal Atre, 30, was not quite sure what to do with his vast personal library.
On Sunday morning, Aanchal and her husband donated 30 of their inherited collections to ‘The Aviva Great Wall of Education’ presented by the Hindustan Times, with the tentative promise of donating up to 5,000 books as the day progressed. “It was a huge collection and we thought it would be good to contribute to a noble cause such as this one,” said Atre.
On the last day of the four-day-long book collection initiative at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, copies of Charlotte’s Web, Enid Blytons, science textbooks and unused notebooks jostled against one another in the towering piles.
Actor Amrita Rao, who was present at the closing ceremony in the afternoon, symbolically handed over the books to Thomas Chandy, chief executive officer of the non-profit group, Save The Children.
The initiative has in Mumbai alone collected more than 1.11 lakh books that will be distributed among underprivileged children. These books will reach 5,000 libraries and benefit 60,000 children in Maharashtra.
“This is a unique experience for me and a colossal, noble cause,” said Rao, speaking at the closing ceremony. Her favourite books when she was growing up were history textbooks, she added.
Prior to the collection at Lower Parel, the initiative had already gone to 200 schools and collected books through drop boxes placed at different locations.
Several others joined in over the past few days to come and deposit their books. Students from KC College’s Rotaract Club were among the big donors, bringing in 268 books that they gathered from among students.
“Not everyone is as lucky as us to have an education,” said Bhaven Parmar, one of the students. “When we heard about this drive, we thought why not take the initiative to give our own books.”
Previously the drive had taken place in Kolkata, Chennai and Delhi.