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Thanks to 5 friends, kids from Mumbai school for underprivileged can now chose from 1,800 books

Until two months ago, the library at Jyotsna Dhirajlal Talakchand High School in Malad (East) barely had 50 books

mumbai Updated: Nov 26, 2017 21:47 IST
Aayushi Pratap
Aayushi Pratap
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Books,Municiapl school
The shelves at Jyotsna Dhirajlal Talakchand High School in Malad are now full of books.(HT photo )

“If I had to describe my childhood, I would say plenty of Enid Blytons and ample of Agatha Christies and loads of Amar Chitra Kathas,” said Krupali Shah, a resident of Malad, who along with her four friends, has set up a library at school in Kurar village, Malad (East) for underprivileged children.

The book shelves of the Jyotsna Dhirajlal Talakchand High School library, which barely had 50 books, now have more than 1,800 titles — fiction, non-fiction, encyclopedia and comic books .

Shah and her friends say they grew up on a high appetite for reading and wanted to set up the library so that the children could access the same books they had enjoyed during their formative years.

“Reading was never a part of my home environment, but it grew on me. But it happened because I had access to books,” said Shah. “It also gave me an exposure to places I had never travelled and people I never met.”

Together, they set up five book donation drives in Mumbai and collected more than 4,000 books between August 29 and September 10. Some of the books that got repeated were sent to a tribal school in Shahapur taluka, Thane district.

Bharat Kekadia, 39, a resident of Borivli, who donated three bags full of books, said he is an avid reader and had maintained his collection. “We shifted to a new house and didn’t have place to keep so many books. Moreover, I thought selling them to a scarp dealer was incorrect,” he added.

After collecting the books, the group digitally cataloged them. “The entire idea behind barcoding the books and creating a digital catalogue was to allow children to browse the library online,” said Kuntal Bheda, one of the organisers of the book donation drive.

Dr Vidhi Vinchhi, principal of the school, said the children are very excited to have new books in the library. “Now that so many books are available, we have planned a series of activities such as story discussions during library classes to inculcate the habit of reading,” she said.

Shah and her friends plan to expand the initiative to other schools in the coming months. “We want children to have at least this one privilege — of having as many books available for them to read,” she said.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 19:43 IST