INDIA: Students rebuild village library
Don Bosco College Kottiyam social work students rehab library for local village
(MissionNewswire) Social work students attending Don Bosco College Kottiyam in Kerala, India, worked in collaboration with the local village of Rosemala to rebuild a dilapidated and abandoned library. The students had noted the plight of the village library and reading room while they were there for a 10-day camp.
After meeting with villagers and local authorities, the students organized a book challenge through social media to raise the number of books required for the library to get a membership with the State Library Council. The students collected several hundred books, sorted them and provided them to the new administrative body of the library, which was created by the villagers through this initiative.
“Rosemala is a remote village completely cut off from the rest of the mainland. The only public transport connection it has with the rest of the world is a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus that comes once a day,” said Father Joby, the head of the department of social work.
Father Binny, the vice principal of Don Bosco College, added, “A library can play a big role in the social and cultural growth of a village. The library will now give the lead for several other empowerment activities there such as tuition for poor children, cultural competitions, tournaments and more.”
The students were happy with the outcome of the library and the difference they could make in the lives of those in the village. Jyothis, a master’s in social work student, said, “We went through every process involved in organizing the community to do something. It took several meetings to convince everyone in the village of the need to have the library. We made several trips to different government offices to ensure that an administrative support system is in place for the initiative.”
When thinking about the future, Father Boby, the manager of Don Bosco College, said, “We are not going to stop with the rebuilding and revamping of the library alone. We are exploring the possibilities of adopting Rosemala village as our key outreach location. Earlier, we had helped several school children with mobile phones to help them attend online classes. We will explore more ways of collaboration.”
India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
India’s youth face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed a secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.
Photo courtesy of Don Bosco India
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