Make room to read

Officially, everyone has the Right to Education in India; still, countless drop out of school every year due to different economic and social setbacks. Room to Read hopes to eradicate this and bring about a change by encouraging the habit of reading among children. With an aim to see a world where each child has access to education, this organisation has been working by sourcing and publishing different books in regional languages of the countries they work in. Apart from publishing, they also help build libraries in local schools, hence helping in creating an atmosphere where kids would be encouraged to pursue reading.

Students using a Room to Read library in a Municipal Corporation Development school in Delhi

The organisation will be releasing 16 new titles this week and an event where actor-director Nandita Das will be reading from one of the books. “Our books are scientifically designed so that they are age appropriate and have high quality of text and illustrations. We also train the teachers of the local schools where our libraries are present on how to use different educational tools and read out from the books,” says Rachna Rishi, from Room to Read, India.

The organisation also supports gender equality and education of the girl child where they communicate with different communities and encourage the families to send their female children to school. They mainly cater to first to fifth grade children through their books.

On their decision to not publish books in English in India, Rishi clarifies, “The quality of children’s literature in English is good in India. Regional languages suffer, which is why we have published titles in Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, (Bundelkhandi and Garhwali — discontinued fresh publications, only need based reprints) and plan to start in Marathi next year.” For illustrations, some books use traditional Indian art forms. These titles mainly use moral-based stories for creating picture books that would make children think and pursue reading.

Though books aren’t available for sale, one can be a part of this organisation through various methods like helping set up a library in the locality or public school, if space can be provided.

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