Friday 20 September 2013

Pratham Books Champion : Neela Gupta

This story was sent by Neela Gupta - a champion who has been volunteering with us since the beginning of the Champions initiative. Today's story comes from Neela Gupta who conducted three storytelling sessions in Vadodara. Neela has worked as a librarian for about 30 years in different kinds of libraries (research library, an industrial library, a public library, a college library and school libraries). According to Neela, this is her longest and most enjoyable tenure of work is with 5 different school libraries. It gave her a chance to be with children and try to understand the world of children ranging from age group of 6 - 18 years. She has learnt a lot from watching and interacting with them. Neela has also volunteered with different underprivileged groups and tried to introduce them to the world of books. She says, "This kind of work gives me immense pleasure. I feel it connects me to a marvelous world of magic where there is some new discovery everyday. It also helps me explore myself and my relationship with children and adults."

Neela writes ...

On 7th Sept, Aura was abuzz with laughter, children's shouts and running around.. all this was the in preparation for the arrival and welcome of Paplu-the giant.

Children already knew that there was a story telling session for them today. As usual, there was excitement in the air. 

As I reached, children were eager to see what books I have got today? They did not take any time in settling down. I told them the story orally while they looked at the pictures in the Hindi and English version of the book. we also had 2 student volunteers sudying in 11th std. from an elite school. 
Children found the story interesting. But there was one question.. Angaar giant would go away and not come near raghav's village but then he may go somewhere else and trouble other people. Sad...:( :( :(... can anything be done about this? How to help Angaar and other giants to become helping little boys like Paplu?

Children started thinking...the question was..

If I wanted to transform all giants become helping, gentle, little boys and girls like Paplu, what would I do?

Some thoughts from them:

"I will teach them some new activities to keep them engaged."-Rishi
"I will tell them to go to school."-Atul
"I will tell him that it is not good to trouble any one."-Nirmala

So thus started the movement of rewriting the story of Paplu. Children got into small groups and brain stormed how they could change the end of the story. Everyone shared some new ideas including-

..how can Paplu change his size by drinking a potion, 
..by reciting another mantra
..what can he tell Angaar?
..How beautiful the world is where there are no giants to trouble any one? where there are friends everywhere?

The student volunteers helped them form their story. Finally a group of boys came up with writing and drawing a one page short story of Paplu which had a different end to the story. One of the boys who is good at drawing, visualized Paplu and did the drawing on the front page of their 'storybook'!

Neela also adds :
And, you will be happy to know that 2 years back we had started our library by ordering 40-50 Pratham books. At that time children could read only Gujarati and a little bit of Hindi. Now many of them are reading English books!! And some of them can write simple English sentences. It is a great achievement for them. I want you to share the credit!!
Love you, Pratham Books!!

Thank you Neela for spreading the joy of reading!

This International Literacy Day, Pratham Books has taken a 1000 steps towards a 'Reading India'

What started as a small step by Pratham Books to spread the joy of reading has become a movement. Last year Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day and we conducted over 250 storytelling sessions. This year we are delighted that over a 1000 sessions are happening across the length and breadth of the country.We will be sharing the stories of all our champions through our blog.

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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