Three teachers from Swami Vivekananda youth movement, Ramkumar, Mr. Lohith and Mr. Ravi, visited CFL in mid-July. They work at the Viveka School of Excellence in Sargur and the Viveka Tribal Centre of Learning in Hosahalli. They came with an interest in learning about CFL’s Open Library. They interacted with many teachers and almost accidentally, found themselves befriended by a group of 11 and 12 year-olds.
Ramkumar’s recounts the evening with the children:
We visited CFL to learn about the functioning of the CFL Open Library. On our first evening, we had a chance to meet a group of 12 year-old students, members of the Palasha Group. We sat together in front of their hostel and had a long conversation. It began outside, with the children enquiring about our school and our students. When they heard that we have 500 children in each of our schools, they wanted to know more. What language do your children speak? How far do they have to walk or travel to come to school? What happens in your school? Why are you visiting CFL? The children’s curiosity and interest set the platform for our conversation. As it began to drizzle, we moved into the hostel. The exchange continued. The children told us about the CFL library, about how it functions. We learned that they use the library on their own. They borrow and return books and make entries on a regular basis. We talked about the conversations they have about the books they have read and about the questions that arise. The children told us about recent books they have read. These included English books and comics and Kannada novels. I asked the children what they discuss amongst themselves, after they have read books. One child responded by saying that they are trying to “read between the lines”. I was a bit puzzled and asked them to explain. They had a variety of answers, such as: It is important to read what is not visible. I was convinced that these are serious readers who seek information beyond the text. Each of them understand the perspectives of authors in their own way.