Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Helping make new readers

It's only just warm enough for this, but Ratty feels compelled to lie down as he drinks in the vibrant colours of the beach boxes here on the edge of a large Australian bay. He's pondering ebooks, naturally. He smiles thinking of the favourable review The Glass Harmonica received just the other day, online at Historical Novels.

He recalls, too, how the ratadilloes' eyes light up for their bedtime story session with him or Lily. He wonders when they'll begin to read all by themselves . . .

Learning to read: it's a privilege we more or less take for granted where I come from. It's not so everywhere. In Iowa in 2007, I met author and surgeon Kavery Nambisan who has been instrumental in setting up neighbourhood reading schemes in her native India:

The Nalanda Trust offers basic non-formal education to underprivileged children. Our objective is to reach out to those kids who have no access to a good basic education system. We also hope to motivate the parents to send their kids to school by making them understand that learning will help individuals and families earn a satisfactory living and help improve their quality of life in all spheres. We attempt to make them realise that it will broaden the mind, create awareness and stretch the imagination of their young so that they are better able to draw upon in-built strengths and develop various valuable skills.

We also run libraries for the young in mind without easy or affordable access to books but with the eagerness to know more about the world. 

Rosa Mira Books would like to contribute to work of the Nalanda Trust, which runs on a shoestring and is funded largely by the trustees and 'a few close friends'. Lately it has become a registered charitable trust, so can more easily receive donations from overseas. As yet, RMB hasn't broken even, let alone made the net profit of which it intends to share 10% with Nalanda. However, this month I'm going to send some money anyway, and thought I'd give my blog readers a chance to add to this sum — a couple of dollars, or a handful: any amount will make a difference. If you'd like to, leave a comment or contact me directly and we'll work out how, depending on where you live.

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