Thousands of rural children now have access to nearly 500 libraries in the remotest areas of Andhra Pradesh due to an initiative by the group of NRIs and retired government officials.
The class X students of a government school in Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh reads wide ranges of books that are not the part of their syllabus. These books, donated by the Bread Society, give them much greater learning and inculcate the joy of reading in them. The range differs from illustrated story books to serious readings on history.
"I read these because because I want to learn and get the habit of reading", said V Mounika, class X students of a village.
"School books can get boring but when I read these books I understand the joy of reading", said another class X student M Priyanka.
The focus of the Bread Society is to take quality books like the ones used in elite private schools to remote parts of the state and ensure that students enjoy the joy of reading for learning.
"When the students takes the books home for reading from our library his parents also get involved and then the reading habit spreads to the whole family," said Sudhakar Sureddi, chief coordinator, Bread Society.
As several government schemes ensure a supply of books to schools but there are no systems to ensure that students actually benefit from those books and that's where the Bread Society makes a difference.
"We also ensure that students write a one page note on the books they have read. This ensures that they have read and understood the contents of it," said K Rammohan Rao, retired Planning Commission officer and secretary, Bread Society.
Meanwhile, as teachers are held accountable for books given by the government and are penalised for losses, so they often don't allow free access to the library.
However, the Bread Society puts the onus on the students. The students manage the library themselves and account for the books. This ensures that the books are returned on time in good quality. In case a book is lost, there is no penalty, the only punishment is the student who doesn't return a book doesn't get to re-issue the next one.
So far 500 rural schools in Andhra Pradesh have got a library of 650 books each. And with each passing year the Society's reach is also increasing.