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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Developing a Community Library in Nepal

A group of four Active citizens, Devaka, Prabina, Santosh and Jeevan were successful in renovating and converting a small library containing 20 books to a huge library containing 300 useful books and 10 magazines at Lokalachhen, Bhaktapur. They did this with the help of the small seed money of £300 provided by the British Council as part of its Active Citizens Project.

They persuaded the community leaders to allow them to use a building which was used only once a year for religious purposes. They now utilize that building as a library, recreation center for students where they’ve stored various books, magazines, games such as chess, badminton etc. It has also been established as a discussion center for Young Girls Group - where they hold meetings every Saturday and try and seek solutions to their problems. They have managed to get free subscription of magazines and books for Classes 9, 10, Bachelor and Masters. They’ve hired female librarians and are offering library membership.

This SAP was chosen to make an effective use of old community buildings. Besides, Lokalachhen comprises of poor people whose only source of income is agriculture. They enroll their children in schools as a formality and do not conceive education as an investment. Also, the education their children receive is not as effective as it should be. They go to schools void of books and study materials. Thus, through this SAP, our young active citizens wanted to provide such students books and a community owned learning center, where they could broaden their horizons.

Debaka Joshi, an Active Citizens said “Earlier, nobody used to visit the library but after we started keeping the course books and introduced membership, students came and sought membership.” The founder of the library Mr. Ram Prasad Aganja said, “Not only the students benefit but the elders used to waste time playing cards, are coming to read newspapers and other books they like. It is developing our community.” Miss Sapana Yalance thanked the Active Citizens and said, “This library has helped me so much, it was very difficult to buy the course books due to my economic condition. I’m very happy to get the course books here.”

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