NEW DELHI: ChildFund India,leading International NGO working with the deprived, excluded and vulnerable children in India since 1951, has launched the second phase of its nation-wide reading improvement campaign Books, my Friends’ second phase –’Ujjwal Bhavishya Ki Ore’ (Towards a Brighter Future). The campaign has been specially developed to increase the literacy skills of children in the age group of 6-14 years belonging to the most deprived, excluded and vulnerable communities in India.
The campaign aims to introduce the joy of reading to over 115,000 undeserved students in 14 states, and many more over the next 3 years.In the first phase, in December 2014, ChildFund India distributed Reading bags consisting age appropriate multi-lingual reading books, encouraging children to read for pleasure. ChildFund also began conducting activities around the books – story telling, skits, painting; reading aloud – to make the books come alive for the children.
And now in the second phase, ChildFund has geared up to remove one of the barriers to reading – lack of electricity in their areas. The areas where ChildFund operates are very backward, deprived of basic facilities essential for decent living. So, ChildFund will give out Solar Lamp with charger to each of their enrolled child or family, to help them overcome poor electric supply problem in rural areas. This will enable children reading in the evening and can also be used by other family members for other basic purposes.
“Given our understanding of the situation and the ground realities, Reading Improvement program was conceptualized to promote not only a culture of reading but also help children and youth develop a taste for reading, which impacts their learning levels, in the long term” says Geoffrey Petkovich, Asia Regional Director, ChildFund International.
The Reading Improvement program aims to improve reading abilities in children belonging to rural and semi urban and slum areas spread across our Country, while making the experience joyful & fun. Data from ASER 2013 and ASER 2014 and the Baseline and Mid Line Studies conducted by ChildFund India highlight low reading levels in children across all ages.
The situation with basic reading continues to be extremely disheartening in India. The studies show a visible decline in the ability to read as we move towards upper primary grades is witnessed.
‘ChildFund India’s ‘Reading Improvement Program’ is aimed at improving reading, comprehension and learning abilities of children as well as improving the quality of education in schools. Our program outcomes over the years have shown that child-friendly learning aids and teaching methodology helps enhance learning and comprehension capability of children” says Neelam Makhijani, National Director, ChildFund India.
In the next and penultimate phase, ChildFund India will set up model schools, solarized community libraries, introducing solar powered mobile libraries, strengthen parents’ clubs to be proactive, and enable school management committees (SMCs) to provide a reading-friendly environment.
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