CHENNAI: In a pioneering move, IIT Madras has launched a long-term social initiative called the ‘Pledge a book’ campaign to help underprivileged students.
Being a part of Shaastra, the largest student-led techno – managerial fest in India, Pledge-a-book collects old and used books from people to set up libraries in India. “A library is a knowledge economy and the best way for students to give back to society is by sharing this knowledge”, said Mahesh Panchagnula, Co-curricular Affairs Advisor, IIT Madras, Chennai.
They have tied up with NGOs like the Indian Development Foundation (IDF) and Avanti. These organisations help identify the schools which require these facilities. Avanti is a social enterprise which trains poor children for competitive examinations by IIT students.
“Currently, three students share one book to prepare for an examination. This book collection drive will be helpful”, said Akash, Student Head, Avanti Fellows, IIT Madras Chapter.
Collection centres for books are set up at the IDF offices in Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Some collection boxes are in the IIT Madras campuswhile some will soon be set up in retail stores in Chennai.
They have collected more than 700 books through two in-house collection drives and one drive during the Terry Fox run.
Despite this, the organisers face some fundamental challenges. “The collection of books itself is a problem since people generally do not carry books with them to donate for the campaign”, said Shubham Jain, Student head, Pleadge-a-book campaign.
He added that the books collected are very diverse. So they are now approaching schools so that parents of young children can donate the required books for that age-group.
The campaign hopes to spread literacy, multilingualism apart from inculcating the habit of reading. While previous initiatives undertaken by Shaastra were temporary, this one is likely to be permanent.
“We want to take this past Shaastra so that a small group of IITians can continue it every year”, said Mr. Panchagnula.
To donate a book to this campaign, you may look at their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Shaastra
Or you can contact Shubham Jain, Student Head of the Pledge-A-Book campaign by inboxing him on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shubham.jain.5203?fref=ts