Express News Service
MADHYA PRADESH: Donating books to help children study and let clean environment flourish is the guiding theme of Bhopal Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Kitab Ghar initiative. Launched in 2019, the initiative has already seen residents of Bhopal donate over one lakh used books and magazines. The reading material has either been kept for studying at libraries of the BMC across Bhopal or recycled into new notebooks before being distributed among children of government schools, who cannot afford to buy new notebooks.
According to Bhopal’s additional municipal commissioner MP Singh, the project was started as part of various initiatives under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. “It has been a long standing practice since generations in many families to not dump books after completion of an academic year. They share it with children of the same family or associated families to ensure saving of money and also wastage of books. The Kitab Ghar initiative has revived that practice, but with a larger objective of helping underprivileged kids study from the same books. This can be helpful particularly during the Covid pandemic when families’ finances have gone for a toss,” Singh said.
The BMC partnered with www.thekabadiwala.com, a portal which specialises in providing free doorstep service of scrap collection and disposal to people in five cities – Bhopal, Indore, Raipur, Lucknow and Nagpur. This helps develop a systematic mechanism for collecting books and recycling out-of-syllabus books and notebooks into new notebooks.
The used books, notebooks and magazines donated by the people, are first collected and stored at various Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and BMC ward offices in 85 municipal wards of Bhopal. From these Kitab Ghar storehouses, the books are segregated for libraries being run by the BMC or for government schools to be reused by kids whose families cannot afford to buy new books in these trying times. “We not only get the old books from families, but also tell them that by doing so how many trees have they saved,” thekabadiwala.com director Anurag Asati said.
And it’s not just the school books and notebooks of nursery classes to Class XII which are being donated for this unique book bank, but also books for competitive exams, which have been donated by youngsters for helping others prepare for the competitive exams. Sources associated with the initiative said though the second half of 2019 and pre-Covid period of 2020 saw one lakh books, notebooks and magazines being donated by people in Bhopal under the initiative.
Helping students from all sections
“With Covid-19 having hit our family income, I couldn’t buy books for preparing for engineering entrance exams. So I’ve started going to one of the libraries which are having books channelised through the Kitab Ghar initiative. I am getting considerable help in my preparation,” says Athar Ali. Romi Mehra (name changed), who lives in the Bhim Nagar slums is among those junior class students of a government school, who have got new notebooks.
Books lying idle after their academic utility can be valuable. Bhopal civic body’s initiative to distribute used textbooks and recycle old notebooks into new ones has been of immense help for those who can’t afford