To her family and neighbours nine year old Bhumi would come across as a teary-eyed, reticent child, who was also a bit of a loner. It took the discerning skills of an astute social worker like Krishna ben to recognise the extraordinary traits in her character.
But first a bit of the background. Both Krishnaben and Bhumi live in Maska, a tiny hamlet in coastal Kutch, Gujarat. Krishnaben has been working as a village volunteer for project Shiksha Saarthi since 2012. Shiksha Saarthi, is a joint initiative between Coastal Gujarat Private Limited (CGPL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power Company, and Pratham Education Foundation, a front-runner in the field of education. Its area of operations is CGPL’s project site in coastal Kutch, spanning the catchment villages that lay within. Maska is one of them.
“My primary responsibility is to look after the library that has been set up in Maska. To keep it well stocked, and to ensure that it is being used by the students,” says Krishnaben. She noticed Bhumi at once, rather she noticed her voracious appetite to read. “She would finish reading one every day, and ask for more!” she enthuses.
The delighted librarian ensured that the child had regular access to the library and introduced her to different kinds of books. Till date, Bhumi visits Krishnaben almost every day and picks up her daily ‘quota.’
But now the visits are not only about her requirement. Krishnaben has found yet another extraordinary quality in her protégé. “She is deeply interested in helping other children to read,” says Bhumi’s mentor.
So she holds special sessions with her classmates, motivating them to read. “She transforms into a radiant, confident storyteller. The joy of reading reflects on her face,” says Krishnaben.
Bhumi’s family is as excited about her new avatar. Her mother shared how Bhumi was motivating her younger brother to read as well.
The most heartening message comes from the little girl’s class teacher. “Of course I noticed the change and I like it” she asserts, “Reading is a very vital skill. It sharpens reflexes and builds confidence level. Bhumi will benefit from it in every way.”
So read away young Bhumi, we are all listening…