Published: 31st March 2019
Trekkers help nearly 200 tribal students in Maharashtra develop penchant for reading
Savlaram Pote, a teacher at a primary school in a tribal area near Shivneri Fort, said they received over 150 Marathi books from the Marathidesh Foundation
Students of nearly 200 primary schools in the far-flung tribal areas of Sahyadri hill ranges in Maharashtra are getting into the habit of reading books, thanks to an initiative by a group of trekkers from Pune.
Libraries consisting of books on history, environment, animals, forts and stories of well-known scientists, authors, sportsmen and freedom fighters are being set up in these schools by the Marathidesha Foundation throughits movement 'Shivsahyadri Granthdindi'.
Damodar Magdum, one of the members of the foundation, said during their treks and fort conservation-related activities in the Sahyadri ranges, they realised that the schools and students there were facing resource crunch.
"So, we decided to do something for such schools and planned to donate books that can be used for extra-curricular reading," he said.
Several trekkers and fort lovers were now coming forward and contributing to the cause, he said.
"As of now, we have set up over 200 libraries at schools in various small tribal villages," Magdum claimed, adding their aim was to take this number to 2,000 in future.
The group members make sure that students read these books in their spare time.
"We ask schools to designate one day as 'reading day' and also ask students to write letters to us explaining about the book they read," he said.
Magdum said they have received several letters from students sharing their thoughts after reading these books.
"So besides the habit of reading, the habit of writing is also being inculcated among students," he said.
Savlaram Pote, a teacher at a primary school in a tribal area near Shivneri Fort, said they received over 150 Marathi books from the Marathidesh Foundation and students were enjoying reading them in their recess or other free time.
"The students are reading books, explaining what they understood from it and also writing letters to the foundation members," he said.
Bhagwan Chile, a fort researcher associated with the initiative, said it was a "great thing" to get students of these schools, located in remote areas, into the habit of reading.
"Since there are books on forts in Maharashtra and on Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the students will associate with them.
This may enhance their knowledge of forts and they could become good guides in future," he said.