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Monday, October 22, 2012

Banking on education

Sometimes the simplest ideas if put into practice properly can be extremely effective. An example of this is the Social Action Project being implemented by Kiran Kumari: a book bank; a simple but effective concept.

Being a school teacher in Sindh, Kiran knows well the hurdles faced by economically disadvantaged individuals – especially when it comes to educating their children. So it was only logical that when Kiran completed her Active Citizens training she would start a Social Action Project to make the education process less costly for parents who struggle to make ends meet.

Kiran asked her students to donate school books to her so that other, less fortunate children may use them. She also reached out to friends, relatives, and other teachers in the area for any reusable books that they could spare. With the help of her students she got rid of any erasable markings from the books and covered the books with clean scrap paper to protect them.

A large section of Kiran’s class consists of children whose parents don’t have a steady source of income. To make ends meet they work odd jobs – mostly as manual labourers. Kiran made a list of students who came from such homes.

As the donated books started coming in Kiran let the more deserving children know that they could use the books from her book bank free of cost. Her two conditions: that they take care of the books as if they were their own, and that they return them to her at the end of the term.   

Kiran first ‘tested’ her social action project in April, and nearly 60 students were able to make use of the books provided by Kiran. According to Kiran parents who rely on daily wages to get by this was an added bonus.

When asked about her plans for the project, Kiran replies: “I have decided to do this activity every year collect books from last batch and provide to next batch. Through this more than 100 students can get benefit from my book bank”.