Rural, poor children to get free books (The Deccan Herald)

Books are not only a tool to pass exams, but also a friend and good source of knowledge. And reading is a good habit. With this message, Child Fund India (CFI) on Wednesday launched a three-year-long campaign of distributing books, setting up librari…

Briefing reporters, CFI Asia regional director, Neelam Makhikani, said: “We sponsor 1.8 million children across 14 Indian states. Of this, based on geographical location, local communities and livelihood conditions, we chose 38,000 children, of which 9,000 are from Karnataka. They will be given books to read and share with others. These are the first children in their families to be educated and have least resources.”

Story, activity books

CFI sponsors children from 0-24 years of age. But, in the case of book distribution programme, they chose those aged between 6-14 years. Books are published by McMillan and Pratham Books in nine local languages and English. They include story and activity books like Chandamamma, Swalpa Swalpa, Between the Lines, Wanted: A Friend and Narayana and the Owl.

“In Karnataka, we are sponsoring children from Tumakuru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Karwar, Raichur, Ujire and Kolar,” CFI Bangalore zonal manager Satish Kaipa said.

CFI national director Geoffrey Petkovich said the idea was to ensure holistic development of children. We want corporates to sponsor child education. There are 24 partners in Karnataka, but none corporates.

Cricketer Anil Kumble expressed willingness to help CFI and other organisations learn and practise sports in schools. “Many parents send their children to school so that they can eat one decent meal a day under the midday meal programme. Free sports training too will be an incentive. Indulging in any sport should be encouraged. So far no government organisation or school have contacted us.”

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