The Community Library Initiative of the School for Democracy (SFD) is a programme designed for a village community, targeting children and youth in particular, it seeks to provide them with an opportunity to access the treasures of knowledge and information by developing their reading & comprehension skills.
While urban Indians are aware of the unequal opportunities for children depending upon their socio-economic class, they are not always conscious of the dire situation in rural India. The disparity is the widest and most striking when it comes to access to education and occasions for formal learning. There are almost no opportunities for a village child, other than the village school, (which is unfortunately often non-functional), private schools are often just as bad, & sometimes worse as their teachers may not even be trained. Both these schools function without science laboratories & libraries, in effect, they also manage without toilets and sometimes even desks & chairs.
Our aim to create a space for LEARNING, as opposed to teaching, the central point being a library around which we plan to develop activities.
The core objectives of the community library initiative are:
- Provide children in rural areas an opportunity to access the treasures of knowledge, and inculcate the habit of reading at an early age
- Create a network of village libraries that would serve as centres of learning and informal education in villages (especially for children, youth and women).
- Engage with the village community and use the network of libraries to educate, inform and spread awareness on democratic rights and development issues.
With community participation, the SFD will create libraries which will be managed by trained members of the village. Once a cluster of libraries are functioning, a village book fair and rural literary fest will be organised to discover, encourage and nurture the creative talents of children and students. A Children’s Camp is planned at the SFD every year. SFD has been organising Village Film Shows in the nearby Panchayats, Film Clubs will be formed where feature films & documentaries will be used to initiate critical discussions.