As a part of our various projects Asha Chennai has been running several libraries. Here is a list of villages where we were running a library at the beginning of the year.
|Project Pearl||East Velayudhapuram – Thoothukudi District.|
|Suriyaminikkan – Thoothukudi District|
|South Subramaniapuram – Thoothukudi District|
|Project Thulasi||Seeyapoondi – Villupuram District|
|Nagalapuram – Thoothukudi District|
|Kaatu Sithamboor – Villupuram District|
|Project Sangamam||Annanagar – Thiruvallur District|
Couple of these libraries needed to be closed down. The library at East Velayudhapuram needed to be closed because this library alone was very far from the others areas of our operation which was around Kayathar and Kovilpatti. Further the long-time librarian at the library passed away. The library at Kaatu Sithamboor was run from the government library building. With a different Panchayat President elected, they wanted to run it themselves. We had to step aside.’
In the meantime, four new libraries were opened or are being opened in these same project areas. Here are the details about these libraries. Also we are equipping the libraries with laptops and tablets and also making them also be activity centres for the children. We have also talked about that at the end.
Here is an album with photos from all the inauguration functions.
Koovachipatti – 26th Feb
Asha Chennai has been supporting the primary school at Koovachipatti even before the Corona. Two of our teachers were working as Kindergarten teachers at this school. Both of them ran mini-schools in the village during the pandemic closure. They started running the Kindergarten in the usual school rooms much before the schools were declared open. The school was always well run and the villagers were always supportive of Asha efforts. They had been asking Asha to run a library there in this village. We also felt it would be a good way to continue our mini-school’s successful activities. Valarmathi, one of our teachers was also willing to work as the librarian.
We got a good place for rent for the library. Murugan did some basic improvements to the place by putting fans and lights. On February 26th the library was inaugurated. The function was attended by the school HM, teachers and various officials of the local Panchayat Union. It was very well attended by the children and their parents. From Asha, our coordinator Murugan and our ex-coordinator John Baul were there. Our local teachers were also there.
Since then the library has continued operating. Almost 50 children come to the library regularly. The children do their homework and also read books, take part in the various science and craft activities etc. I also got to visit the library on April 22nd.
I had travelled to Koovachipatti on the 22nd of April. I got to see the library in action during that visit. I interacted with the children. They showed me some of the craft work and science experiments they have done as well. This was probably our largest library and it was also filled with joyful children.
Kilpennathur – 18th March
Asha did not have much of a presense in Kilpennathur. However an ex-Asha teacher, Saravanan, who is currently a government teacher lives here. He became aware of a good library run by Kilpennathur Consumer Protection Association but which was remaining closed because they did not have funds to run the library. He approached Asha and requested us to run the library and helped facilitate the interactions between Asha and the KCPA. KCPA was to give us the library building and the good collection of books (more suitable for adults than for children) to us. We were to add more books suitable for children and employ a librarian. This library was right outside the government primary school at Kilpennathur. The school was also willing to and interested in bringing children in one class to the library for one hour every day in rotation. The government higher secondary school and couple of other schools were also nearby which made this a good location for the library.
The function for the inauguration of this library was held on 18th March. It was attended by many of the trustees of the UWWA. The Inspector at the local police station, both the BEOs of this educational block and the HMs from the nearby schools were invited for this function. From Asha our coordinator Rajaram, project steward Paripooranam and project coordinator Dhinakaran were there. There was great enthusiasm for the library from all the people assembled there. One 4 year old child from a nearby area demonstrated her incredible knowledge of Thirukural and another 10 year old gave a beautiful speech in Tamil.
Our librarian for this library Ramesh comes from a little distance but he is very capable. He is managing the library well and it is being utilised well by the school during the school hours as well as by other children and adults in the evening.
Kanniyampoondi – 18th March
Asha has been supporting the primary school at Kanniyampoondi for a number of years. Several of our teachers also hail from this village. We were also running a mini-school right inside the school during the Corona period. The school HM is also a very motivated teacher. She was the one who was instrumental in getting us to start this library. There was an old Panchayat library building lying idle. The building had some book shelves but did not have any books. Asha purchased a good selection of books for the library. Though the library is a few minutes walk from the school, the school teachers were committed to bring their children for one hour to the school every day in rotation. There was a good bit of motivation in the village to utilise this facility as well.
The school’s HM, Mrs. Ramani organised the inauguration function. We met the same BEOs from our Kilpennathur visit here as well. Several HMs from nearby school (esp., the schools supported by Asha) were also here for the function. From Asha our coordinator Rajaram, project steward Paripooranam and project coordinator Dhinakaran were there. The children from the school performed for the guests. There were several songs, dances and skits. Our computer teacher for the school, Sasikala, also participated in the function.
Our librarian for this Gajalakshmi comes from this same village. The school is being utilised well by the school as well as by the children in the evening.
Other Developments and Plans for the Future
We have one more new library planned for opening in summer at Seethanjeri in Thiruvallur District in the same building as our Rural Technology Centre. At all our libraries we are gradually hiring librarians who are from the same educational background as our teachers with similar qualifications. This is to enable us to turn them into activity centres. At all our libraries we have also provided a laptop, a tablet and data plan for the librarian. This also enables our libraries to serve the children as a digital resource centre. We have installed our Asha Kanini with all the contents in the laptop and the tablet. This was made possible through the Delivering Smiles program from Amazon.