Building awareness through mobile libraries - By Jayanti Buruda

A group of young girls volunteers to create a space for education and interaction in the villages of Malkangiri, Odisha

Books for all (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

Mobile libraries in the villages of Malkangiri, Odisha

Malkangiri is a small Naxal-affected district in Odisha. With help from “Bada Didi”, a young female volunteer-led movement to increase the awareness about menstrual hygiene and security in Malkangiri district, Jayanti and a group of girls in the town have been trying to bring awareness to multiple issues like child marriage, lack of education systems, etc. 

They have started a small library in Malkangiri to encourage reading and develop education awareness for the kids in the nearby villages. Apart from managing the library space, they have started conducting tuitions for the kids in the village. This has brought much-needed awareness to the community which has started contributing to the book collections. With this initiative, they aim to educate and empower the youth of the town, especially the girls who don't have a platform to grow.

The color red (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

An attempt at eradicating the stigma around menstruation with the help of red color.

They begin their journey with playful rangolis (a colorful art on the floor) and try to reach the girls living in nearby villages.

Girls rule the world (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

Educating the girls about the various opportunities around the world, making them understand life beyond the village.

A major driving force of the support group is to nudge the girls to ask questions about what they want to do in life, what they want to achieve, what they can do to make those dreams happen. Many of the girls don't know what they are capable of. With this initiative, they hope to introduce them to various things.

Journey to the village (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

Some of the girls had the opportunity to go out and get educated, explore other options. But many girls in the village are still quite unaware, don't know the value of education. The volunteers try to reach remote parts of the district and connect with these young girls attempting to understand the restrictions and problems faced by these girls. They spend time with them to try and come up with solutions.

The initiative (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

They started this initiative to bring hope and meaning to the lives of the girls in the district, to bring about a change in the norms. 

It is a step towards a brighter future for the girls who have been driven to believe there is no future. They have crossed multiple hurdles and obstacles to reach the point they are at, and that has only strengthened their determination to do the right thing.

Taking risks with confidence (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

After facing a lot of backlash from the people in the village, they have taken all decisions independently and reached this far. No matter the obstacles they face, they always find a way to overcome these obstacles and hope to continue to do so.

Hope - against all odds (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

Their biggest hope is to educate the girls and create awareness about the opportunities outside the district. They want to change the existing system of the patriarchal society and give voices to the girls.

Books - to the people (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

When they discovered it was not easy setting up a library in all parts and it was difficult to get everyone to visit, they started setting up remote libraries on the side of the road. This way everyone passing by could drop in.

Bridge the gap (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

The library aims to encourage reading and develop education awareness for the kids in the nearby villages. This has inspired more girls to join this movement.

Books for kids (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

They have also started a tiny library on the side of the road which caters to all ages groups. The library attracts kids of the village to read children’s stories.

Books for all (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

The library on the side of the road caters to all age groups. They encourage reading books in regional languages. The library houses academic books, a selection of novels, poetry and more.

Inspiration in the text (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

They have a collection of autobiographies of freedom fighters and philosophers through which they hope to inspire the people of the town to take steps towards development and progress.

Bedtime stories (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

Kids from the village drop in during nightfall to catch up on bedtime stories. The library on the side of the road is mostly open round the clock so anyone who wants to read can visit at convenience.

Open to all (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

A library on the road that is open to everyone during the day.

Little kids from the local slums come to visit the library on the way to the tuition to read books on freedom fighters and philosophers like Mahatma Gandhi, Vivekananda among others.

Hunting for recipes (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

The roadside library also attracts women from the village who come to shop at the nearby market. They visit to browse books for children and books on recipes, women’s magazines and more. They sometimes take the books home and return them later.

On the way back home (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

Many students from the college started visiting the library during the lockdown. They continue coming to read books that are not available in the college library and quite enjoy the collections in this space.

Visiting hometown to check out the library (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

People who have migrated to nearby towns come to visit the library after hearing about it.

Rediscovering old books (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

Women from the village who heard about the collection of old novels they read during their childhood come over to check out the collection. They discover many Odia novels etc that are not available anymore.

Eagerness to learn (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

A local fast-food seller who set up shop nearby visits the library. The women in the town are eager to learn. They pass by the library every day to check out the books on poetry and old novels.

Support from teachers (2020) by Jayanti Buruda#COVIDHeroes

The library also attracts teachers from nearby schools who are very appreciative of the initiative. They guide them on the collection, how to store the books, and suggest how to encourage kids to learn more.

Credits: Story

Artist Jayanti Buruda

Artist Bio Jayanti Buruda hails from a small village called Serpalli in Odisha. She is the first female journalist from the district and her tribe, Koya. She graduated with MA in 2012 from JMC at Central University, Koraput which is 150 km away from Malkangiri.

When her parents didn't give her permission to pursue her education, she ran away from home and with the help of her friends finished her graduation. She worked in Bhubaneswar until 2015 after which she moved back home. For the last six years, she has been learning to understand her hometown; trying and finding ways to contribute and better the lives of her tribe and nearby villages.

Project Location Malkangiri, Odisha

#my2020hero is an initiative by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Chennai Photo Biennale Foundation (CPB) to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of real-life heroes by sharing their stories.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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