Bakul Foundation started with a Library Movement in Odisha and till now operates without any separate office but from the libraries. The Bakul Children’s Library in Bhubaneswar is the first outcome of that movement. The library set up after a successful online campaign to donate books, stands testimony to the power and potency of volunteerism. It has been set up and is running without any institutional funding but with book donations and small contributions of many individuals. It is, nevertheless, widely regarded by experts as one of the best children’s libraries in the country and has developed into a Resource Centre for children’s books.
Bakul Children’s Library in Satyanagar has already developed into a Resource Centre with many of the best children’s books from all over the world.
The Library housed at 16 Satyanagar, Bhubaneswar is now a General Library for everyone and has
over 20,000 books. Many artists also contributed in making the library one of the most
attractive in the country.
The Library is FREE for all, and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 2PM to 9PM. There are regular activities for children every Saturday and Sunday. There are many special activities for both young and old at the library such as Story Telling by celebrities and people from all around the world, Book Launches, Author Interactions, Cultural Programmes, workshops etc.
There are public libraries now in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Paralekhamundi, the villages of
Godibari (near Chandaka Forest Main Gate) and Biswanathpur (near Balipatna) and 15 Model School
Libraries in Bhubaneswar, Ganjam and Malkangiri.
Volunteers of Bakul have also run a Mobile Library that is on Janpath every Sunday morning in Bhubaneswar as a part of Raahgiri. The Mobile Library has been on 6 day camps in 24 villages of Ganjam and at the YMCA camp for refugees from Kandhamal in 2009.
Click on the images below to have a look into more galleries of Bakul!
Bakul has been creating picture books for children in the local language Odia with children and children’s writers.
When the first Bakul Children’s Library was set up, we realized a major challenge in promoting reading among children going to local language schools as there was a paucity of good illustrated books in Odia, particularly for beginning readers. Hence, Bakul is now getting into publishing of picture books in Odia.
Bakul has already been developing manuscripts in workshops on writing with children, and 3 of these manuscripts developed in villages of Ganjam has already been published with authorship given to the children. Since 2015, Bakul has also been organizing.
Bakul has also been engaging with children's authors and illustrators to help create good books for children. In 2015, it set up the Udayanath Award, the only Award for Children's Book Illustration in India. It has also organized interactions of authors and illustrators with experts such as Prof. Ellen Handler Spitz, the author of Inside Picture Books published by Yale UP. There was also a session with the Founders of A Mighty Girl on how to create girl empowering books.
All the books created by Bakul are available to read in e-format on it's official website.
The Bakul Library has been a platform where many experts have volunteered to conduct workshops to train children on aspects of creativity such as writing, photography, clay modeling, papier mache, best of waste, animation etc.
In addition to that, Bakul has been conducting workshops on these different areas of creativity at children's festivals organized by the Government of Odisha such as SURAVI organized by the School and Mass Education Department, SARGIFUL organized by the SC and ST Development Department and RAINBOW organized by the Women and Child Development Department.
Every year, Bakul also conducts a Summer Camp for children with disabilities. These children at OLS are doubly disadvantaged because in addition to having physical and intellectual disabilities, they are either orphans or abandoned. Every year, the volunteers of Bakul engage the children in fun and learning activities with guidance from occupational therapists.
The Bakul Learning Initiative for School Students started in 2009 with the unexpected but tremendous support of 200,000 books from Pearson Education. This donation was used as an excuse and an opportunity to launch an ambitious attempt to take our movement of volunteerism for promotion of reading further.
The Objectives of BLISS are:
- To demonstrate the power of volunteerism and to promote public participation in educational development
- To create an interest and joy in learning leading to independent learning
- To develop reading skills in children and to create interest in reading leading to a reading habit
- To develop confidence in children and to develop their imagination and creativity Already more than 100 volunteers are giving 2 hours a week and going to schools (8 at present) in Bhubaneswar and educating the children through Fun Activities. We are on the lookout for more volunteers to scale up the intervention
There are two ways in which the volunteers are intervening pedagogically:
- Fun to be able to Read” (FAR) or Reading Enabling
- Reading to be able to have Fun” (RAF) or Reading Encouragement
These two components broadly map strategies more conventionally used such as Learning to Read and Reading to Learn. However, the use of the new nomenclature for BLISS is to underscore the primacy we are giving to children having fun. We also believe that if the volunteers or Learning Facilitators also have fun they will be more motivated to intervene in a better and more sincere way. Books have been distributed to school students across the State but the Volunteer Intervention is happening in about 10 schools in Bhubaneswar.