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A ‘beacon of hope’ – a community library experience in the midst of a pandemic


We just need to give children an opportunity to be
themselves! There is an importance of giving freedom. Freedom to chose, to
read, to express…we realized this much more during the ongoing
pandemic. Stories need to reach out to children and PRAYOG recently started
a community library for children in Khem Matihaniya village of Gopalganj. But
this did not happen in a single day, a lot of efforts, thinking, preparation
and discussion happened to start this. 

PRAYOG works in rural Bihar and extends its operations
in Kuchaikote block of Gopalganj district. Had it been normal times, we would
have done our normal activity – strengthening library and activities around it
in a few select Govt. schools which we have been doing since 2017 with the
approval of then District Collector, Sri Rahul Kumar.

Problem – what do we do?

But the pandemic opened up a pandora’s box – full of
challenges. Challenges not only to us but when we look at it from the lens of
children, especially the girl child – what must be happening to them, what
socio-emotional difficulties children might be going through and are we doing
enough? The entire world is working to mitigate the health and livelihood
issues but what about education? What about children in rural areas, especially
in a State like Bihar where most of the children haven’t seen the face of Govt.
schools for the past 6 – 8 months? How many households in rural Bihar will have
a TV or an android mobile hand set with capacity to recharge for the costly
internet packs – a bare essential to continue with digital education? And is
digital education the only way out? What exactly is the purpose of
education? Is it not that the child is free to dream, for each and everything,
is able to think – enable them to make critical decisions? Or is it only the

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