Food 4 Thought Foundation, a Noida-based NGO, in collaboration with Odessa, a Bengaluru-based software company, initiated a revolutionary step in furthering group reading by inaugurating three community libraries in three different schools of Bengaluru. Odessa has earlier clinched prestigious awards from the coffers of Interactive Media Awards (IMA), Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) and Software Technology Parks of India (STPI).
What the Inauguration Entails
The concept-based inauguration had the sole mission of ‘Igniting a Reading Revolution’, where reading for the pleasure or enlightenment becomes a day-to-day habit amongst a wide population base irrespective of age, gender, geography, caste, creed, religion or economy, thereby building an enlightened nation.
“Today, we live in the era of a unique paradox. On one hand, we have millions of people who are eager to read but do not have access to books and on the other hand, we have millions of books at our homes, which we have read once and may not read them again. Food 4 Thought Foundation believes in the philosophy of preserving and conserving books as they are not meant to be read just once and stored and forgotten and kept locked as ornamental pieces,” said Madhavi Sharma, the Director of the foundation.
Awarded with Jury Special Recognition for its TRACKER software at Kalpavriksha 2017, the Social Venture Pitching competition at IIM Indore and the HYSEA Awards 2017 under the Social Impact category; Food 4 Thought Foundation, along with associated partners, does the following:
- Re-cycle books from varied donors to the shelves of libraries. No purchasing of new books is involved. In other words, it breaths oxygen in decommissioned books.
- Donors can track the books donated by them – locations reached or the readers.
- Reward the best reader/ student thereby motivating students to experience the joy of reading.
- Compliment the libraries at educational institutions with community libraries to ensure back to back access to books and periodicals.
TRACKER is a multi featured software product exclusively designed to connect donors, librarians and the management to help them track the donated books and generate respective reports.
“We thank Odessa in Bengaluru for adopting these three libraries and helping students get their first book. A special thank to Aseem Purohit and Namita Kutty for believing in the cause of building an enlightened nation by spreading the joy of reading and helping in spreading this movement in Bengaluru,” said Madhavi during the inaugural event of the community libraries.
Odessa, a reputed leader in equipment leasing software solutions, has been awarded with ‘Fun at Work’ title by Times Ascent at ‘Dream Companies to Work for’ annual programme in the recently concluded 26th edition of World HRD Congress in Mumbai. Namita Kutty, too, was named one of the “100 Top HR Minds” in India.
The inauguration was conducted by donating 400 books to the libraries. The books were categorized under various categories – story books, general knowledge books, encyclopaedias and academic reference books, various activity books, dictionaries and the likes.
Madhavi added, “The opening of community libraries is indeed a revolutionary step towards the overall development of students at schools, colleges, universities, and all people who are members of our society. Encouraging students to keep reading and issue books from libraries can make a huge difference in their personality. Students today do not know how to cope up with stress. The availability of technologies has made them move away from friends and spend more time on Mobile, WhatsApp etc. When students do not find any friend, the books will play the role of their best friends. The inculcation of a reading habit will certainly help students to handle negative emotions.”
Another important aspect of the inauguration is the volunteering part of students, teachers, working people from various industries, housewives, retired people and the likes. The volunteers from Odessa have come forward to give their valuable time to these schools and community libraries on weekends, and help spread the joy of reading among students and readers. The time-table of these volunteer visits are being currently developed.
The Role of Volunteers
A volunteer can choose any of the following campaigns:
Idle Books to Hungry Minds campaign that involves the following responsibilities:
* Campaign to facilitate the collection of books.
* Update the list in the Tracker software.
* Ship these books to the new destinations, i.e., readers.
* Identify institutions/ community where libraries are needed.
* Identify institutions like schools/ colleges/ households/ companies/ corporate organizations, who can contribute books.
Joy of Reading campaign that has the following ingrained responsibilities:
* Participate, read stories to smaller students such as those of primary schools. Only four hours needed per week for about 100 children.
* Encourage their friends to join the campaign.
* Identify new schools/ institutions where they can enroll for this programme.
Save a Book, Save a Story campaign demands:
* Identify those books that need urgent attention to be archived and convey to the foundation.
* Record the rare stories and then send to the foundation.
* Collect funds towards saving those books as well as stories.
Build a Library campaign involves the following responsibilities:
* Create awareness campaigns that generate funds-collection.
* Identify interested donors for the cause and inform the foundation about it.
* Identify institutions/ schools/ communities that might need a library and then inform the foundation.
“Our mission is definitely helping the education sector in our society a great deal and the objective of connecting idle books to hungry minds has two clear perspectives,” said Madhavi Sharma.
“We believe every book has a shelf life but keeping it idle will kill it. By connecting it to a right reader, we shall be spreading the knowledge to a vast section of readers. The book donation campaigns are done in all metro cities. All the books collected are spread all over India through libraries. These books will help in playing the role of benchmarks for the rural libraries as the names and classes will not be removed from the books. Thus in other way, these books are trying to play the role of a bridge between the urban and the rural readers and improve the education system,” she signed off.
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Reporting by Varsha Priyadarshini Special Correspondent, Bengaluru