A library in a tribal village in Jharkhand keeps alive the memory of a Galwan Valley martyr
Veer Shaheed Ganesh Hansda Library in Bhandarshol village in East Singhbhum is encouraging tribal children to read and is helping them prepare for competitive exams.
Laraib Fatima Warsi 3 Nov 2023 8:02 AM GMT
Asha Jani is a History Honours student at the Jamshedpur Workers’ College in Jharkhand. When 18-year-old Asha comes home to Baharagora village in East Singhbhum, her favourite occupation is visiting the Veer Shaheed Ganesh Hansda Library that was set up in 2020 at the Bhandarshol village, 12 kilometres away from her own village.
Though it is a little far, Asha makes it a point to visit the library at least twice a week. She said she tagged along with her father who works somewhere there.
Asha comes from an underprivileged background; her father is a mechanic and her brother is an auto driver. Education has always looked like a far-fetched dream for her and being able to pursue higher studies and have access to books was a dream-come-true.
A large number of children from tribal communities in East Singhbhum are benefiting from the community library in Bhandarshol village, which has been named after 22-year-old sepoy Ganesh Hansda who was killed in June 2020 in the line of duty in Galwan Valley. He belonged to Koshaphaliya village in Chingra panchayat in East Singhbhum.
Veer Shaheed Ganesh Hansda Library has been set up by Nischay Foundation, a non profit started in 2017. The library, which functions out of a community building near the village temple, offers free books and reading space to children.
Tarun Kumar, a 33-year-old young man from Jamshedupur, started the library in his village to help the underprivileged kids of the tribal area. He started the library to get the children to start reading. Kumar is also the founder of Nischay Foundation, which works in the space of education and menstrual hygiene amongst tribal communities in rural Jharkhand.
“I thought that tribal children should have books and magazines available to them so I started a library. The library opens every day at 10 am and remains open till 6 pm. Sometimes grown ups are also spotted using it,” Tarun Kumar told Gaon Connection. He along with some children and a few others in the village look after the day to day running of the library.
“I believe that books will be the friends of the children, that will add to their personality and help them shape their future and build knowledge,” the founder said. According to him, about 100 children use the library regularly and they come from villages around Bhandarshol in East Singhbhum district.
The library has around 200 books and covers various topics such as science, mathematics, etc which students can read whenever they want. There are some books on personality development and biographies of freedom fighters, informed Kumar.
Like Asha Jani, Bikash Bhuiya from Bhandarshol village comes to the library to quench his thirst for history. The 19-year-old is doing a diploma course in electrical engineering and is the son of a vegetable vendor.
“I want to apply for the role of junior engineer in railways,” Bhuiya told Gaon Connection.
“Since the library opened I have sat and read for hours in it without any interruption. Some of the children also use the space to study or do their homework as their homes may not have the space or quiet to do so,” Bhuiya added.
After the success of the rural library at Bhandarshol village, Nischay Foundation has started another such library at Chingida village, which is five kilometres away from Bhandarshol, informed Kumar.
The Nischay Foundation also offers a fellowship programme that has helped more than 25 children study further. They select meritorious students and help them with the fees.
“We help them with tuition fees, buying books, stationery and college fees so that they don’t drop out,” said Kumar. Funds for these activities are raised through individual donations and crowdfunding
The non-profit is also raising awareness on menstrual hygiene. It tackles the taboos and stereotypes attached to periods. There are several girls in Kumar’s team who reach out to the women and girls in the tribal villages of Jharkhand and educate them on menstruation.
They have also started an initiative named “Ek Pad Ek Ped” in which they encourage women to plant trees. Every time a rural woman uses a sanitary napkin provided by the foundation they plant a tree.