The Children Of Ragpickers Leaf Through The World In This B’lore Library
- IWB Post
- July 15, 2017
While the sun is setting, some young heroes are rising. They learn, laugh, and love the life more than yesterday. They await a brighter tomorrow that will fill their lives with more happiness.
On the eves of Wednesday to Saturday, an old-age home at Banashankari welcomes the dozens of children of rag-pickers who set up a community library called ‘Buguri,’ meaning ‘spinning top’ in Kannada.
Buguri was initiated by a Bangalore-based non-profit organization, Hasiru Dala, in late 2016. While Hasiru Dala works for the welfare of waste-pickers’ community, it established Buguri so that their kids could spin thoughts and ideas, learn from each other and have fun, under one roof.
“They are all first generation learners. Even those who go to school do not have reading levels equal to other kids their age. Unless you make learning interesting and relevant, it is tough for them to show interest,” Nalini Shekhar, co-founder of Hasiru Dala, told in an interview with The Hindu.
Buguri was spearheaded by Lakshmi Karunakaran, the program coordinator. When the team was still finding a place and collecting books, their first visitor, 4-year-old Aravind, landed. “We didn’t even get an opportunity to formally start. After the painting event, we told the children they had to give us some time to set things up. And next day, thirty kids landed up, asking for books,” says Karunakaran.
Now the team Buguri is conducting reading sessions with the children of over 200 families living in the slum. They have over 2, 000 books available for children aged between 6 to 16 years-old. These kids are divided into two groups, where from Wednesday to Saturday, they diligently follow the schedule of reading and story-telling sessions. On Sundays, the library turns into an art activity center. The kids at Buguri get to learn painting, drawing, beatboxing, and some theater exposure.
Team Buguri has been able to amass books in Kannada, Tamil, Hindi and English languages. These books have been collected from donations throughout the world that includes Goobe’s, the bookstore, and publishers such as Tulika Books and Pratham books, etc.
“When a few kids misbehaved and tore up some books, they were kindly asked why they behaved the way they did. We took a democratic vote and decided to cancel the membership of anyone who breaches the library’s rule of love towards each other and the books. That way, they learn to respect rules,” Karunakaran told Bangalore Mirror.
Although Karunakaran has availed a free library for the slum kids, there is still a lot to do to provide these children with opportunities. The team had challenges teaching kids how to read since 80% of the young group couldn’t read or were dropouts. To tackle the issue, Karunakaran plans to bring up a short-term reading fluency program. However, as of now, they have picked up visual reading sessions. Someone in the team reads aloud the story and involves children in discussion.