Our village reading programme aims to bring books to semi-illiterate women in villages… and then enable them to read and discuss the books, and decide what action they can take to improve their lives. We started in 2004 on a pilot basis and are now expanding the programme.
We are working with the Farm and Rural Science Foundation in Warangal District and with the Adolescent Girls Programme of the Integrated Child Development Scheme of the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare in Rangareddy District.
Our partners set up a number of reading groups, each with around 10 to 15 women in each. There is a “Village Reader” who acts as a resource person for the group. Our target audience for the reading groups is adolescent girls and young women from the Banjara and Lambada tribal groups, who are amongst the most disadvantaged.
We provide multiple copies of a range of books on practical subjects (such as better health and income generation) and encourage the readers to take action to improve their lives and their communities. We have a pool of experts who visit from time to time to share their expertise on topics under discussion.
In 2012, following their reading a book on “Profitable Mushroom Growing” at a reading session, a group of women decided to become mushroom farmers, and we have been supporting them with money for training and starter packs for growing oyster mushrooms.