Campaign Ended! The campaign ended on February, 20 2017
The Change-Maker At Work -
Surya, the founder of the Ajivam Educational Society, hails from the Gazipur district of Uttar Pradesh. He moved cities for his education, got a Master's degree and finally settled in Mumbai six years ago, hoping to tie down a lucrative job. That's when harsh reality struck. He soon realised residents of small-time villages, like his own, often found themselves maladapted to competitive urban careers, despite the efforts invested in their education. Surya decided to be the change.
His hometown lacked a decent school, depriving the village children of access to quality education. Surya took it upon himself to build a school for the village. Soon after, he invested in a bus service to ensure kids from surrounding villages were able to attend too.
As of today, he employs six graduate and post-graduate teachers, houses 150 kids and runs the eight-classroom school with grades upto the sixth standard. He has invested nearly Rs. 20 lakh of his personal wealth to make this happen. The school keeps fees as low as possible, between Rs. 200 to Rs. 500 a month, but aims to become self-sustained with a student body of 350 by 2018.
Though he had solved the problem of constructing a school for the village, Surya knew his mission was far from completion. Education is only qualitative when supplemented by access to information and knowledge. Surya found that many social barriers had been preventing local children from receiving proper education. He put down issues of caste and gender and a lack of knowledge about opportunities available as the prime reasons why the balls of transformation has never truly been set rolling in Gazipur. It was clear to him that the district needed a place where knowledge could be acquired beyond education. To bring about real transformation, Surya needed to bring about a shift in the mindset and a public library was just what he needed.
The Need for a Public Library -
Providing quality education is one of the biggest challenges a developing society faces. Delivering education becomes even more difficult in villages, due to strong social divisions, widespread poverty, biases against girl-children, poor infrastructure and a lack of correlation between education and job opportunities. These issues are a reality in almost every village of Uttar Pradesh, India.
To combat issues of gender and social discrimination, Surya's public library aims to serve local communities by providing free and easy access to a broad range of knowledge. It is equipped with diverse resources from computers and the Internet to a free-for-all community space.
How The Library Will Help The Village -
1. Gender Discrimination: For the most part, girls in villages are denied education opportunities owing to an inaccessibility of infrastructure, a lack of understanding of future opportunities and financial constraints. Issues such as women's safety concerns, priorities placed on household work, a lack of knowledge and resources and social conditioning, further decrease the chances of them receiving good education. The public library will serve as a safe space for girls to have access to, will be a knowledge centre where they can expand their understanding about their field of study and avail of career opportunities.
2. Social Discrimination: Children from lower castes are still considered untouchable and face discrimination in schools and colleges in UP. The financial conditions of the families they hail from are also pitiful. Most depend on daily labor wages which further impacts the quality of education they're receiving. The library will conduct awareness programs in their villages in addition to providing free access to books, computers and an equal and respectful atmosphere.
3. Rural Unemployment: Most students, even after completing their education, are left clueless about the direction they want to move in, due to a lack of information, resources and local employment opportunities. This limits career choices for boys to farm work and forces girls to lead a life without ambition. The library will provide the latest information on employment opportunities based on a student’s education and preferences and help with study materials and training sessions.
4. Computer Based Knowledge: The public library will employ dedicated resourced to regularly conducting digital interventions for villagers, allowing them to access government and banking facilities online. It will also serve as a knowledge centre for students to do additional research on subjects of their interest, learn new softwares and explore the beautiful world of the internet free of charge.
Library Features -
Fund Utilization -
The Ajivam Educational Society has already managed to raise Rs. 2 lakhs for the library, but needs a lot more to ensure that it becomes functional. The Better India has joined hands with them to help them raise at least Rs. 4 lakhs. Do your bit and contribute towards this beautiful cause!
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