Published: 26th December 2017
India Literacy Project's mobile libraries are helping over 1,000 govt school kids. Here's how
While speaking about the progress of India Literacy Project’s Hyderabad Chapter, its founder offers a lot of insight into CSR and funding
For the India Literacy Project (ILP) Hyderabad Chapter, 2017 has been an eventful year of many firsts.With three projects executed successfully and another on the way, the founder of the chapter, Manmohan Jain, credits it all to the tremendous support that has poured in from volunteers and corporates.
And what’s the mission of this project? To be a catalyst for 100 per cent literacy in India, of course! And to stay in line with this mission, the project’s Hyderabad Chapter had introduced mobile libraries. They have already set up two and are planning to set up another one. These ‘moving libraries’ circulate around government schools and have made it possible for 1,100 children to access more than 6,000 books every week.
The three focus areas of ILP are quality of education, literacy in girls and women and sustainable projects through community empowerment. It has volunteers driven chapters are in Bengaluru, Chennai and Bay Area in California
The other project that they are very excited about is the Multi-Dimensional Learning Space (MDLS), informs the Vizag-born founder, adding that, “in this space, children can learn any dimension of a subject that appeals to them.” Children are given low-cost science kits, which have 150 experiments and more.
They also conduct career counselling in schools of Nampally, Khairatabad, Shankarpalli, Rajendranagar and Gandipet mandals, covering 50 schools and impacting 5,000 children. Recently, they conducted an Arts Festival which saw participation from 4,000 children and are even planning a Science Fair on National Science Day, February 28, 2018. Phew! That’s a lot of events catering to curious minds!
About 80% of our funds used to come from an annual fundraising dinner. Today, I’m happy to note that 50% of our funds are from CSR initiatives and about 40% from such fundraising events
Manmohan Jain, founder, ILP Hyderabad Chapter
A lot of the support comes from corporates too. And for those dedicated to various causes, who are still waiting for things to fall into place in terms of funds from CSR, Jain only has one thing to say — be patient. “It does require persistence and it is not necessary that you always get a response, but some networking really helps,” states the 52-year-old. For example, he says, it is always better if you know someone who can introduce you to the CSR Head, instead of just cold calling them. “And mostly, the ones who handle CSR have other responsibilities as well,” he explains, which could sometimes contribute to the delay, but when it does come through, it’s a sizeable grant.
All booked: Students reading books from the mobile library van
Jain reasons that this tumultuous process probably enforces a certain discipline into their proposals and makes sure that due diligence is paid to them. “And you know how corporates are, they love seeing metrics and statistics in proposals,” he laughs cheekily. And it’s not just the corporates, there are enthusiastic volunteers too who are taking ILP’s mission forward. “There is one volunteer who teaches scientific concepts like the water cycle and such, through choreographed dance,” shares Jain, proving that both volunteers and corporates need to help further the goal of any social organisation.
The four initiatives of ILP are:
Abut 60% of children have improved their reading ability. The mobile libraries also carry low-cost tablets with educational content, accessible with WiFi
MDLS - Multi Dimensional Learning Space
This is a digital learning center and more than 2,000 students from three high schools have access to the content at the center
The low-cost kits provided for MLDS comes with a concept note on each of the 150 experiments and six CDs that have videos on how to perform each experiment
They go about career counselling in three stages. First is general awareness in a group, then interacting in a smaller groups after identifying their interests, and finally, individually