Friday 21 June 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Rakhee Iyer

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.

Book Reading at Project Crayons ‘Malvani’ for Pratham Books initiative – Susheela’s Kolam’

First – Thanks to both Project Crayons and Pratham Books.

Second – Maya of Pratham Books is an absolutely doll! I pestered her like 100 times since I didnt get the book on time, but she was patient every time, went out of her way to help me get the book and finally the courier didnt arrive and I got the address of distributor from her and then managed to get the book

On September 8th morning, my four year old daughter, my friend Smita who was kind enough to accompany me to take pictures and I reached the venue. Usha teacher came along to take us to the place of the book reading. We walked through the slums to reach the place a small room, where the kids were there…we reached there walking through extreme conditions honestly…there were very very small shanties with not even a pakka roof, definitely no sanitation facilities with the water flowing through the road, houses just put together right next to each other, often separated by plastic sheets…It was an eye opener…I really give it to UN and the teachers there who slog tirelessly to ensure that the kids attend school..I am sure for them to get the kids to attend school is a very very difficult task…please go take a look at their website, I salute the teachers there…

Anyways, we reached there by 10.50 and teacher asked me to wait for a while before starting because they were sure some kids would come in..and they came in slowly…on the total there were about 22 kids who came in from the age of 6 years of 12 years

First the kids started with the prayer and then told all the lovely rhymes…

I started, first introducing myself, thanking Pratham and thanking Project crayon and then told them that I will tell the story in English and then in Hindi.

So thats exactly what I did….I think they liked it, at least no one yawned and they were looking at me with a lot of interest…A few of them were amazingly smart…they helped me translate words from English to Hindi…and I finished the reading…

Then I asked them where all they thought ‘Kolams’ could be made…and they come up with super duper ideas…and they translated the English words to Hindi and vice versa..some of them were shy and spoke only when I coaxed them to answer…

After we figured out where all Susheela could draw Kolams including the top of autos and doors, and side of the bikes, and cars, and where not! I distributed blank greeting cards to the kids..and told them that I will draw a simple kolam on the board and they can copy it and then colour it and give it to their parents, grandparents…one kid asked ‘meri sister ko dena hai’ and I was like okie

Anyways, I must admit perhaps the kolam I chose was a bit complicated, but guess about 10 kids got it right I helped the others..and then we gave them crayons to colour their kolams…

While the kids were doing the colouring, I drew a simple kolam comprising of diamonds and then asked each kid to colour one diamond each

All the kids got a chance, and I had an assistant among them who told me which colour should be put where

We also decorated it with some flowers…and Smita was so sweet, that while the kids were doing the kolam on the floor, she walked through the place again and then came back with a big box of chocolates…

We distributed that, thanked the teachers, the kids..and I asked them if I could come back..and the kids were like ‘yes yes teacher’ and one of them tells the teacher ‘Please dont tell her no, let her come again’ :):)

So there, I wasnt a flop I guess!

Thank you Rakhee 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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