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Students of slum school get library

Students at an English school at Kamgar Nagar slum in Ghatkopar that has been functioning for around 11 years finally got a library, thanks to the initiative of two engineering graduates, who decided to veer off course and join Teach for India.


Making a difference: Prachur Goel and Neha Soneji at the library with their students in Kamgar Nagar, Ghatkopar. Pic/Sameer Markande

Students of Modern English School have been catching up on interesting facts and stories in a rented room near the school since the past three months. Anish Nair (26) and Prachur Goel (24) rented a room near the school and have successfully stocked it with around 600 books, and more will be added along the way.

Nair and Goel began teaching at the school a year ago, while Neha Soneji (25) and Shruti Murali (21) signed up under Teach for India and joined this year. The group has been focusing on improving the English vocabulary and general knowledge of their students.

Goel said, “I started teaching in Modern English School last year. Four months ago, Anish and I decided to raise funds for the school and participated in the Give India challenge. We received generous contributions, including books and stationery. Donors sent in craft books, encyclopedias, storybooks, puzzles books and board games.”

“As the books began piling up in my room, I thought about how I could make all this material available to the students. That’s when the plan came about to have a place where the books were visible and accessible to the students.”

Nair said that the initiative has been welcomed by the student’s parents and is having a tremendous impact on their education.

“Research with the students and parents has shown that the library had really helped the students to improve their language skills, besides learning a lot of new things. Earlier, the students only use to read while they were at school and had no access to such interesting material once they went home. The library has certainly brought about good change in them,” Nair said.

Saumya Billa (11), a Std V student of Modern English School said, “I take my 9-year-old sister, who a Std II student in the same school, to the library every day. We both enjoy reading the books here and I also read storybooks for my sister.”

Nameera Sheikh (12), a Std V student, said, “Reading everyday at the library has improved my English vocabulary. I really enjoy reading different books and improving my knowledge.”

Saira Qureshi (12), a Std V student, said, “My English has improved after reading books at the library every day. If I don’t understand the meaning of something, I ask the teachers and they explain.”

Interesting facts
>> Monthly rent for the library is Rs 3,000
>> The 10x15 room was whitewashed and repaired by the four volunteers
>> Bookshelves and other material came in, courtesy donors
>> Membership issued to interested students on back of Goel’s visiting cards
>> Members can bring along neighbourhood kids and siblings interested in readingĀ 

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