KHEL—Katha Holistic Early Learning programme/centre
Community Owned and Operated Libraries
COOL!, or Community Owned and Operated Libraries, is an attempt to open libraries in several communities throughout Delhi. These libraries or learning centres are set up in people’s homes—in rooms that these families have very kindly agreed to let us use. In our several visits to various community spaces in Delhi, we realised that there were no library facilities for the people. Deprived of a holistic reading experience, many were curious about how libraries would benefit their children and the overall atmosphere of community life. Others expressed a strong aspiration to have them set up near them for easy accessibility.
Thus began the endeavour to train select youngsters from these very communities who could become effective ‘reader-leaders’ for the children of their respective areas. Called Katha Junior Fellows, some of them have been associated with us for more than 5 years now. Under Project COOL!, they will be responsible for planning, overlooking and maintaining the smooth conduct of these community libraries. So far, we have identified 5 clusters in the northern and southern zones of Delhi where these libraries will be started, with ten community areas within each cluster. We plan to launch twenty libraries in July.
Project SherNama goes by the motto of bringing out the voices from the margins. It is about people from the fringes of our society sharing their stories and experiences. We hope to create a world of stories, therefore, where the people we represent for the most part will get an opportunity to represent themselves. It is an attempt to discover the hidden storyteller within all children from the communities.
This story-hunting project is scheduled to be launched in July along with Project COOL!. Although with distinct aims, the two projects will nourish and nurture each other. We will start the story hunting process through a series of workshops that will be held in August. Subsequently, we hope to publish some select stories on Amazon by the end of this year!
Katha Junior Fellows or KJFs
As part of our initiative to launch several community-based libraries this year called COOL! (Community Owned and Operated Learning) Centres, a team of young, dynamic leaders have joined us to run the libraries in their respective communities. We call them the Katha Junior Fellows or KJFs. Most of them have been associated with Katha over the past 4-5 years as DOYTs while some of them have joined us newly. We currently have 50 Katha Junior Fellows with us in Team KHEL*, and we hope to grow in size and spirit over the course of a year or two! Our fellows are also registered trainees with Katha under a specialised 30-30 module training programme that will take place in three phases in the course of this year (the first level of training was successfully completed in June ’17).
The KJFs are passionate, dedicated, and committed to the cause of reading for meaning and joy. They are the primary pall-bearers of Project COOL! and SherNama. They believe in the potential of every child, and in the vision of Katha’s 300 Million Challenge.