30-year-old Ngrurang Meena, sets up a free roadside library in Nirjuli in the North-Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. Located in the Papum Pare district, the library is meant to encourage the love of reading amongst children of her community.
Meena is an educator and a social activist based in Arunachal Pradesh. She is also the founder of the Ngurang Learning Institute. A few months ago, Meena was browsing through her Facebook feed where she came across a similar concept of a roadside library in the state of Mizoram, which is how the idea originated in her mind to take up this initiative.
The social activist says that as a tribal child growing up in the border state, she had little access to books and libraries.
Reading and writing were limited activities and confined only to classroom textbooks. Although, there are a few government libraries in the state, she and her siblings never had the chance to visit any during their childhood.
Moreover, the literacy rate in her state in today’s time is staggeringly low and every year, the poor performance of the school-goers baffles her. Therefore, the idea of a public free library seemed enchanting as any passer-by could choose to sit and read.
She spent a total of Rs.20,000 for this start up and purchased around 70-80 books worth Rs.10,000. Another Rs.10,000 went towards making the wooden shelves of the self-help library. Said Meena.
“With this library, I hope to encourage others to take up such similar activities in other places and even if someone does steal a book, it would do them good because how otherwise would you utilize a book if not read it?” added Meena.
Meena is not alone. Many have come forward to help the social activist in her initiative to encourage youngsters to read and enhance their writing skills and so people have helped by contributing money to buy more books.