When we first heard about Bookwallah Organization, what caught our attention instantly was their tagline – ‘Sharing the gift of Imagination’. We became curious and thought of venturing deeper to know more about this gift and how can it be shared. The stories, the struggle and the transformations which we witnessed were overwhelming.
Bookwallah is a U.S. based non-profit organization founded by Seena Jacob, which works relentlessly to spread the joy of imagination via reading to the children of orphanages in the developing countries like India, Indonesia and Ghana.
Let us learn more about the organization –
Seena’s love for reading, imagination and creating “stories” and her very own life experiences where she got comfort in her difficult days by reading books gave way to the concept of Bookwallah. In 2010, she partnered with co-founders G.Rilet Mills and Ranjeet Nambiar to transform this idea into reality.
The team visited various orphanages in Pune and Mumbai to realize that how much a library was needed in these localities. They initially distributed books to the kids in the orphanages soon to realize that the books were stashed away and left unread. The orphanage did not have the resources or expertise to utilize these books to the fullest. Hence the program was modified and evolved from mere book supply to creating conducive library spaces and involving volunteers to spend time reading the books to the children and thereby engaging them.
Bookwallah believes that every child deserves the hope of a happy story. It wants to bring the magic of storybooks into the life of every orphan giving them their sense of possibility, hope and imagination. Bookwallah wants every child to believe that they too can be the orphan HEROES like Harry Potter, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. And what can be the best way to reinforce this positive thought amongst those kids than reading similar stories to them?
How do they Work?
If you thought, Bookwallah just brings books and stacks them in rooms called ‘libraries’, you are wrong. Each of their library is a creative inlet with colorful walls and heaps of books which entice the kids to come there and start their journey of imagination. Each center has a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers who come up with innovative ideas to get the children involved in the world of imagination.
How are they touching lives?
They are touching lives in many ways – bringing a smile, giving hope, spreading joy, racking imaginations and most of all making each of those kids believe in themselves!
Some transformations to get inspired – Meet Lalitha, who says the library is the best part of her school –
Raju wasn’t interested in reading at all! He only came to the library reading sessions just to pester other kids. However, by the constant backing and optimism of Bookwallah volunteers, Raju now has developed a liking for books and gets lost in the world of books as profoundly as the rest of the gang.
These are just few examples, but you should visit one of their centers to feel the real difference Bookwallah is making in the lives of so many kids.
Numbers speak louder than words and hence here are some statistics for you –
- 1080 children from all over the world are given access to books and libraries
- 17 libraries built till date
- 80 volunteers not only conducted reading sessions for the children but also various other educational programs at various centers
- 8000 books distributed creating a world of imagination for children
- 4 countries where Bookwallah has marked its presence
In India, Bookwallah is creating imaginative children in Maharashtra and Karnataka currently. If you want to be a part of their storybook, please click here. If you want to donate and share the gift of imagination, please click here.
We believe this is not the end of the story, but a start to a wonderful fairy tale whose end would gift the world of imagination to every child out there. We wish Bookwallah all the very best for all the future endeavors!