Saturday 10 September 2016

Pratham Books Champion : Rasika Durge

Rasika Durge sent us the following report from Surat.

Session conducted on : 22nd and 23rd august
Number of kids : 200+
Number of sessions : 2
Number of champions : 1
Language the session was conducted in : Gujarati, Hindi

22/8/16 was a different day for Faizan, Anshu, Irfan, Kamruddin and all others in Shree Mahadevbhai Desai Prathamik Shala No. 206 in Surat slums. Their morning assembly which usually consists of bhajans and news read had something different.

They saw a poster being put up by the teachers which had some images of happy kids and words written on it. They tried reading “P-R- A-T- H-A- M ….” They could read the spelling but not pronounce it.

A few kids sitting on the side where I sat with the book having attractive images started whispering to one another “ kitab, kahani, bada pakshi(big bird) “ and all such terms. Teacher’s scolding for not paying attention to the prayer assembly did not impede them from still looking at the colors and images and whispering about it to each other.

Finally I started with the story reading. Read in Gujarati once again repeated in Hindi with expressions and actions and the kids enjoyed how Muniya and the Gajapakshi were friends as they had similarity of a kind. They too knew that Gajapakshi had not eaten the horse as it was vegetarian and ate only tree leaves etc.

But they did not know whether the village people really killed the Gajapakshi or whether Muniya was able to save him. For this I made them wait for the next day assembly.

When I went to the class Kamruddin my 5th grade student and two other kids just started asking what happened next in the story. I asked them to wait till tomorrow. But being impatient little fellows they wanted it all today. I gave that book to Kamruddin who doesn’t know how to read Gujrati (even at 5th grade). He and others who had gathered around him to get a glimpse of the book and the pictures started guessing what happened and forming their own story with the help of the picture.

Kamruddin wanted to take the book home for read. As just a week ago I had checked the school library and found all the picture books for level 1, 2, 3 which were present in school (SSA books) and had a library period for them for the first time. They took those books home and those who knew reading read them and those who didn’t they just made their own stories out of the pictures.

They loved reading. And this Pratham book was the most attractive book in their lot of books at their school.

I told Kamruddin that I wish to finish the story tomorrow after which he can take that book home and bring it back next time. But he just followed me for the full day for that book. Even when his class teacher Ganpatbhai was teaching in class he came after me in 3 rd STD to get that book.


Finally next day I read the second part and put an end to the curiosity and questions in the minds of all.

All enjoyed the story and I asked a few kids to come up and tell the story in their own words. We discussed how we should be friends with all and not mock others for their disabilities etc.

Then after the assembly many of the students from different classes approached me to check the book out. Even the teachers wanted to see the book. Now when I went for my intervention in 5th, many of the kids wanted the book for taking it home and reading it and showing it to their parents. I gave the book to Kamruddin and asked him to bring it next day and give it to the next boy who wants it and so on.

Currently the book is taking a tour of all the homes in 5th STD at school 206. The kids handle the book with care; Take it home, draw pictures from the book and many of them write the story in their copies before returning because they think they won’t get to have it once again. They relish the book to their heart full.

This book was a great seed to good reading habits into these underprivileged kids.


Thank you Rasika for spreading the joy of stories.

In its fifth edition of the 'One Day - One Story' campaign, Pratham Books was joined by 3000+ storytellers who conducted 3200+ storytelling sessions. Many, many steps towards a 'Reading India'! 

What started as a small step by Pratham Books to spread the joy of reading has become a movement. In 2012, Pratham Books initiated the One Day-One Story initiative on the occasion of International Literacy Day . We will be sharing the stories of all our volunteer storytellers (Pratham Books Champions) through our blog. View more stories from the International Literacy Day Celebrations held in 2016. 

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 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 champions(at)prathambooks(dot)org.

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