Published: 09th November 2020
Wondering how to celebrate your birthday? Do what these women did, organise a book donation drive
Srichandana Sanjeev and Nilanjana Bhattacharya marked their birthdays by organising a book donation drive. They collected as many as 1,000 books and are planning to donate it to underprivileged kids
What's a better way of celebrating a birthday than spreading the love for reading? That's what best buds Srichandana Sanjeev and Nilanjana Bhattacharya reasoned and launched a Birthday Book Donation Drive with an aim to collect 1,000 books and distribute them to community centres in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Delhi-based organisations. But for Srichandana, who turned 30 last week, there was another reason. "I was born with mild cerebral palsy and felt left out as I couldn’t play like all the other kids. In those times, it was my grandfather who used to read us a lot of stories and, with time, books became my best friends. We lost my grandfather this March, so, this book collection drive is also a way to honour his memory," says the alumna of IIT Kharagpur.
Nilanjana is an alumna of IIT Kharagpur as well and currently, she works at Kids First Chicago
Launched on October 2, coinciding with Daan Utsav, the duo curated a thoughtful Amazon wishlist of books that catered to all age groups from which people could pick and donate online. "We also included several books on inspirational women and by female authors as well," says Srichandana who, along with Nilanjana, is an ardent believer of the stories told by women. Classics like the Harry Potter series, 15 books by Roald Dahl, Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories and books of authors like Ruskin Bond and Sudha Murty feature on the coveted list. "We believe that subconsciously, books make you what you want to become. So we were very careful while curating the list," she asserts.
Nilanjana and Srichandana | (Pic: Srichandana Sanjeev)
Another book, Money Matters by Rohit Shah was also included, "so that children learn about financial literacy from a young age," says Srichandana who is the APAC Programs Manager at Salesforce and co-leads the company’s philanthropy and engagement in India. And serendipitously, the author reached out to them, offering to donate books from his side as well. Similarly, Haripriya Bathula, who runs The Bookshelf Library in Hyderabad, offered to send 77 books that she had curated for her library. And in this way, they inched towards fulfilling their goal and closed the drive on Srichandana's birthday — November 6 — and will ship off the first set of books on November 11, Nilanjana's birthday.
The duo donated 100 books for the book donation drive
"Frankly, we thought the goal of 1,000 books was a little too ambitious, but looking at the results, we are enthused to make this an annual affair to celebrate our birthdays," exclaims Srichandana.
Books from the list:
- Stories for Kids Who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks
- Like A Girl by Aparna Jain
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- Bookasura by Arundhati Venkatesh
For more on her, check out facebook.com/srichandana.n