Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Librarian delivers books to Indians

LIBRARIAN Rosemary Dunstan is heading to India to deliver books to children.

LIBRARIAN Rosemary Dunstan is heading to India to deliver books to children.

She will spend two weeks working for the Book Bus Foundation, which aims to raise children’s literacy levels.

Mrs Dunstan, manager of Sonning Common library, flies tomorrow (Saturday) and will stay in a guest house in Rajasthan.

She will visit five schools each week to share books, crafts and games with the children, which will help them to learn English.

Mrs Dunstan said: “Hindi is the most widely spoken language in India but English is the most important language for national, political and commercial communication. English literacy is a highly desirable skill and is encouraged in schools throughout the country. Quoted literacy rates are 61 per cent but, in rural areas especially, child literacy rates are considerably lower.”

She visited Zambia for a similar purpose in July.

“When I came home from Zambia I mentally heaved a sigh of relief,” she said. “It had been a challenging but enjoyable experience and Zambia is a beautiful country but not one that I particularly want to return to.

“Volunteering on the Book Bus had been on my ‘to do’ list for a while and then I could tick it off and move on but then I got an email saying that they were running a two-month pilot project for the Book Bus in India and were looking for volunteers to be involved from the start, so I volunteered.”

Mrs Dunstan, of Birch Close, Sonning Common, is funding her trip but is asking for donations to the foundation. Any money raised will be used to buy books, stationery and craft materials either for Mrs Dunstan to take with her or to be given to the foundation for similar use.

She said: “Learning to read is not as emotive a cause as helping a cancer charity but can you imagine what it’s like to be unable to read or to be able to read but have no books or magazines?

“I’ve been told that books and craft materials are more readily available in India than in Zambia but just in case that’s not true, I’d like to take as much as possible with me so that I’m fully prepared.”

To make a donation, visit rosemarydunstan

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