Open Library

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A Miracle of Sorts

Just picture a small Government school with children from very poor families. Then sketch in a team of extraordinary teachers and a headmaster, who function in amazing harmony. Don’t forget to highlight an ex-student who went on to become an engineer and wants to give back to the school a fraction of what he gained from it.

What am I tring to convey? Just that on Saturday, September 29th at 9 a.m. the school inaugurated its open library in a separate room dedicated to the library! The children and teachers were thrilled to have Shri G.P. Rajaratnam’s daughter present, to tell them about her father and read out some of his stories and poems.It was quite amazing that there were no locked cupboards and all the books were accessible for the children to pick up. The headmaster began his talk by saying that there were going to be no speeches(!) He asked the children to come in anytime to read, borrow and browse. The library was theirs to use, to take care of, and to be responsible for. The head teacher then spoke and said, “ Ask questions, come and read, tell us your difficulties, never be afraid.”

This- at a time when every other day, we read horror stories of teachers punishing and harming children for no reason.
I call it a miracle because the headmaster told me that everything seemed to move favourably towards this outcome. I too recollected that it was in January this year that Mr. Shashi Kumar of Wipro came to attend the Educational Conference at CFL and went back with some ideas and plans buzzing in his head. That enthusiasm and sustained contact with us made us respond too and in just 8 months the idea, the philosophy and the actuality of an open library has emerged. More follow up is needed and will happen, but the attitude of the students is heart-warming. They show confidence and trust and affection. Mr. Shashi Kumar spends every Saturday morning with them at the school, reading, discussing and communicating.

A small story — but what a big difference it has made in the children’s lives!