Books are so much more than just words on sheets of paper. Repositories of knowledge, a pool of various ideas, people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions put into words and moulded in a way so as to form stories around them. Reading is one of the best ways to build one’s intellect. but also helps you entertain and question a host of ideas helping to form opinions in a more informed and logical manner. It breeds rationality.
However, it’s sad that it’s an art that few in our country have the ability to appreciate. One reason is inaccessibility. The other reason is that in the remote parts of our country, people aren’t aware of the importance of reading and the benefits it offers.
If India is to continue on its path of incubating an increasingly informed and educated populace, this appreciation of reading needs to percolate down to the bottom rungs of our society. With this in mind, the journey of Walking BookFairs started in Koratpur, Odisha in 2014 with two people walking with a few books in their backpacks, taking books to nearby villages. Akshay and Satabdi started this venture to improve the accessibility of books and to inculcate a habit of reading among people that usually don’t get to engage in it. They used to load books in a small van and display them in public places in villages and small towns. For a lot of the kids from these villages, the first book they ever held came from this little mobile bookstore.
With a dream to take books to more people everywhere and to make books more accessible and affordable for the common people, what started as two people walking with a few books in backpacks, has now travelled more than 20,000 km across 20 different states in India.
They also have a brick and mortar bookstore in Bhubaneshwar which serves as a library for many underprivileged school children and students who come to browse through and read books for free because they cannot afford to buy them. The store also offers them books at cheap prices to make them affordable for those who want to take them home.
They also conduct various activities to promote reading among people and it also serves as a community space for people to meet each other, exchange ideas and thoughts. It acts as a space of openness where people from various different backgrounds can come together to help build a society that is more inclusive and equal. As an independent bookstore, it supports the idea of creating more libraries and also donates books from time to time to various individuals, schools and communities to help in building small community libraries.
Akshay and Satabdi need readers from across the country to come together to help them continue their efforts. Your contribution will not only help save their book and mortar store which in itself serves multiple purposes but also to add more books to their library for the underprivileged, to help them reach out to more people and inculcate the habit of reading as well as making books more affordable for everyone. Donate today and become a part of this reading revolution.