Bhopal: In a novel initiative, a Class 5 student living in a slum here has been encouraging other children to study and realise the importance of education by running a library from her make-shift house.
Muskan Ahirwar started the small library – ‘Bal Pustakalaya’ – with 25 educational books last year at her residence in Durga Nagar, a slum located barely a kilometre away from the state secretariat in Bhopal. The 11-year-old girl’s efforts have now been recognised by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who has offered her a financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to set up a proper library.
Chouhan met the girl at his residence on Wednesday and handed her a cheque of Rs 2 lakh. He promised Muskan to build a one-room library for her, an official of the public relations department said. “The situation would soon change if girls like Muskan are extended support by the whole society. The government will extend all possible support,” Chouhan said while handing over the cheque to the girl.
Muskan started the library with merely 25 books which, she says, has “now grown and accommodates around 1,000 books.” The girl lost hope of continuing the library after the death of her father, Manohar Ahirwar, on July 7 this year. However, after receiving the financial assistance from the chief minister, the girl says now nothing can stop her and the other slum children from moving ahead.
“Papa used to say do something big, study hard,” says Muskan, who wants to be a doctor. Her library remains open between 5 pm and 7 pm every day. “Nearly 20 to 25 children come to the library (every day). They have to sit on a mat. A few children take the books to their homes and return it later. In a bid to know if they read the books, I sometimes ask questions from it,” she says. Muskan says she also maintains a register of the library’s accounts.