“The closest we will ever come to an orderly universe is a good library.” – Ashleigh Brilliant
In its quest to create an orderly universe, Akshar Bharati has been “Spreading Joy through Reading” since the summer of 2007. Over a thousand volunteers big, Akshar Bharati was started with the mission to equip underprivileged society, focusing majorly on children between the age of 5-15 years, in India with a community library to encourage the habit of reading and eventually help in self development.
In its journey of over 3 years, Akshar Bharati has been successful in establishing over 200 libraries. A perfect example of working in collaboration, Akshar Bharati ties up with various NGOs and schools which are active in areas where the requirement of libraries is seen. The NGOs/Schools run the libraries on a regular basis with support provided by Akshar Bharati in the effective running and ensuring that the initiative is making the right impact by conducting regular activities, feedbacks etc.
The new books are procured directly from the publishers, hence providing for heavy discounts. Customized set of books are provided based on the requirements on library locations/ institutes which are identified based on the feedback received from the existing library locations , schools and NGOs. Each library contains 800-1000 books. The books are provided in various languages including Hindi, English and vernacular languages. The book sets are redesigned every 6 months.
Apart from the books, Akshar Bharati has come up with an initiative called Project Dhruva under which children are involved in activities like essay writing, storytelling, group reading, skits, spoken English, computer basics, presentation skills, Vedic math, book review, sports and performing arts. This provides the students with a platform to demonstrate their experiences with the books and the volunteers to share their expertise with the children.
Akshar Bharati manages to get funding through various sources like corporate funding, volunteer individual contribution, road shows and other fund raising events organized by the volunteers. It is also a member of Sewa International, an NGO that facilitates fund raising for various causes and distributes funds among its member NGOs. Out of the total funds collected, 5% is spent on administrative activities and the rest 95% on buying books and setting up libraries.
Akshar Bharati provides an easy way for people to get involved in a social cause through its small activities. It also provides internships for students with Sewa International. The internship is primarily meant for financially weak students and provides interns with financial assistance for their education.
For more information on Akshar Bharati, check out http://www.aksharbharati.org/.
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