Library of hope
A fun pop-up library in Lower Parel makes reading exciting and accessible for all
Readers today are leaders tomorrow is a known adage but in today’s time, when kids have access to a whole wealth of children’s literature, little ones with disabilities and their families often experience exclusion from regular libraries due to lack of awareness of their needs and lack of disability representation in their books collection.
“In India, there are 52 million children with developmental disabilities, out of which 6.5 lakh are in Mumbai alone. Of these, not even a quarter have access to quality care. That’s where Ummeed Child Development Center, a not-for-profit comes in and partners with children who are with or at risk of developmental disabilities. We provide them and their families specialised care, training, research and advocacy,” explains Dr Raviraj Shetty, senior occupational therapist, Ummeed Foundation. A newly launched initiative towards that end is the Pop-Up Ummeed Library, which aims to make the joy and magic of reading accessible to children with disabilities, their families and communities. “It’s a restful island of quiet for families in the midst of transitions between multiple therapies, schools, classes and the day-to-day,” adds Dr Shetty.
The pop-up library will be set up in the verandah of Ummeed once a week for three hours. They have a rich collection, which is curated with the intention of meeting the diverse needs of children. Additionally, there will be a fun pop-up quiz, read-aloud sessions and games based on the books. There are plans to invite story-tellers and children’s authors to conduct read-alouds as well.
Dr Riddhi Mehta, senior developmental pediatrician, Ummeed, says, “Children experiencing disabilities will read if reading is made accessible to them and when you design anything for children with disabilities, you design it for every child.”
On Fridays, 1.30 pm to 4.30pm (days keep changing every week; call before going)
At Ummeed Child Development Centre, 1-B,1/62, Mantri Pride Building, Subash Nagar, Lower Parel. Call 62488100
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