Wednesday 3 October 2012

Pratham Books Champion : Megha Suresh

For International Literacy Day (8th September), we had a dream - we wished that 100 people would volunteer to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We ended up finding more than 250 champions to conduct storytelling sessions across the country. We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.
This story was sent by  Megha Suresh.  Megha Suresh is an aspiring writer currently working in her family run export company while working on her writing. She has worked with NDTV Profit as a business news reporter and in an animation company as a creative editor. She hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA in Marketing from Mumbai University. Her passion revolves around the creative side of things and she truly believe in a more literate India! Megha also shared this story on her baking blog.

Storytelling session at St. Marys School, Vashi, 8th September 2012

“Once upon a time…

Who can resist the allure of these words, child or otherwise.

In a world where everything is moving at warp speed, some things never change like the wonder of storytelling and the smile it brings to a child’s face. Hence, on the occasion of International Literacy Day (8th September) when I heard about Pratham Books’ initiative to conduct story-telling sessions across the country, I was excited and inspired by the prospect.

My session was conducted in St. Marys School, Vashi. The school actually caters to a class of students, whose parents are learned and can well afford a good well rounded education. In 2006, the management of the school under the guidance of Father Abraham Joseph realized that unlike their students, there are so many children who do not have the opportunity to education because of their financial and societal situations. Sons and daughters of maids and construction workers, day laborers and so on, these children stay at home and take care of the house. Older kids look after their siblings while their parents are at work earning a paltry sum to run the household. It’s quite unfair and painful to see potential dormant like this. Children should have a shot at building their dreams and education is the starting point.

So, Father established an initiative within the school that offers education to the less privileged yet amazingly bright young girls and boys. Every evening these children use the same classes that the usual students of the school utilize in the morning, for instruction meted out by teachers who form a mix of teachers from the school and volunteers who want to teach. The education is on par with matriculation standards and these children get access to a treasure trove of knowledge as they rightfully should.

The children may not have the best grasp of English, or the working knowledge of other things that you, me and the general kids we know may have but they have the jest and courage to make an attempt.

Who better to tell stories to!

“Who wants to hear the story of Susheela’s Kolams?”

“Miss, what is Kolam?”

“What do you draw on the ground during Diwali?”


As we read Susheela’s Kolams and The Generous Crow the general vibe of the class was one of fun and interest. So much so, that they pushed me off the teaching pedestal and narrated a few of their own stories! English was broken but the effort was incredible. When they got stuck, their mates urged them on.

“Miss, I say one now please. I want to tell the class about Thirsty Crow”

Every childhood memory is a beautiful thing. In the hope that this added to their collage of memories, I thank Pratham Books for the opportunity and I hope the children employ the biggest take away from this – Reading is colourful, reading is fun!

Thank you Megha for spreading the joy of reading!

View more pictures from the International Literacy Day Celebrations.

This blog contains stories sent in by all our champions. Browse through the blog for more stories. You can also go through the tags on the right side of the blog to find stories happening in your own city.

Note : If any of you want to be a Pratham Books Champion and join us on our journey of getting 'a book in every child's hand', write to us at web(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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