Back to the Schools
been working with 18 Government schools in Gopalganj since 2017, to ensure that
all children enjoy reading and giving them access to diverse children’s
literature. Like the entire world, the pandemic struck our work as well and we immediately
started a community library for a group of children, all going to one these
schools. Well, that was a different experience but today, we are writing to
share some of our recent experiences when the schools have re-opened and
children have started to come to the schools.
by re-visiting the schools and interacting with the teaching community. The
Principal of Upgraded Middle School, Sherpur immediately responded and shared
how sad the teachers were because of children’s absence in the school for a long-long
time. He asked us to re-start our library program. Before the lockdown, a
library room was in place in the school with books which were available from
the school as well as Prayog’s support.
went inside that room to just have a look at the status of books, we were a bit
surprised initially but then also realized that we need to immediately work on
this – the books that were displayed along the walls had gotten moist and there
were signs of termite getting into these. This was the room which was painted
and designed by the children of the school as their ‘library’. Had children
been there in the school, would the books have been in such a shape? Absence of
readers had just moulded these books into some unusual form and that’s so sad. Why
were the schools closed for such a long time? Well, it had rained heavily this
year and hence the condition of these books was expected.
|Children helping in getting the books soaked in sunlight|
team visited the school, the next day, we were better prepared. We took out all
the books one by one to the sunshine outside and let these books dry in the
nature’s lap. We then pasted papers over each of the wooden shelves along the
wall. That helped us realize how important it is to look back into the place
where we are keeping the books. Children helped us in this as well.
They were all
emotional as we were meeting them for a library session after a very long time.
We had planned something for them but before that we just reflected around what
they did when they were not coming to their school? Their responses and
questions left us bedazzled for a while but we cannot dig into the past and wanted to move ahead. Covid 19 had already affected their studies but now that they
are back to their school, the show must go on..
first day, we had planned for a guided drawing session based on a story called “Basawa
and the Dots of Fire”. Around 40 children from Class 7th and
8th just listened to a part of the story and then got engaged into drawing
whatever image that came to their mind. This drawing session extended for
almost half an hour and what fabulous interpretation of ‘text’ came up in the
form of drawing – each child displaying a unique artistic work! Such is the power
their drawings, the teachers of the school were excited with what the children
had just displayed and such immense creativity!
(children showing their drawings, their own imagination and understanding)