Child Fund India, one of the oldest agency working for child development and protection has launched a unique campaign in Rajasthan to inculcate reading habits among the school children.
‘Books, my friends’ is the new program which has been launched from Udaipur recently to help marginalized children aged 6-14 improve their learning abilities by discovering the joy of reading at an early age. The campaign which aims to benefit 1.25 lac children in 14 states, would cover 7000 children in Rajasthan in different stages.
“There has been a rapid drop in the reading habit among the people across the globe and particularly in India, lack of interest in reading is one of the reasons for increasing rate of school dropouts each year” said Neelam Makhijani the national director of Child Fund India, which is part of Child Fund International, a global agency serving more than 17.8 million children and family members in 30 countries.
“This campaign is about helping children read and learn better in a fun and enjoyable way through the many pleasures books can offer them. It is also about getting books in the hands of children who need them the most” Neelam added.
‘Books, my friends’ responds to the fact that reading for pleasure reveals a predisposition to lifelong learning that explains increased social mobility.
“Reading as a child is one of the strongest predictors of later academic success. That is the reason why we are introducing this innovation into our existing quality education program for children” said Joern Ziegler, CEO, Child Fund Germany.
Under the initiative, a kit of age appropriate story books will be distributed to children with the help of the education department. The books having colorful pictures and glazed papers have stories narrated in a style sure to attract children.
The school teachers will be imparted training to use these books as teaching aids to arouse interest among students towards reading. To overcome poor electric supply in rural areas, the organization has provision to give to the participating family a solar lamp with charger which would enable reading in the evening and charging mobile phones, flash lights, etc.
In following stages setting up of community libraries and training of community animators to promote reading habit is also on the cards.
Contributed by: Geetha Sunil Pillai