I have a little story to tell, it involves books and a future for Sri Lanka

15th March 2013 was no ordinary day. An event was about to take place in a school somewhere in Trincomalee. It was no ordinary event. Around 200 students from 12 schools gathered for it along with respective teachers and principles. At the event there were some energetic youth (strangers) who had arrived from Colombo. The 30 strangers to Trincomalee had something planned for these students and teachers. These 30 strangers were volunteers who were part of a team who called themselves ‘Needy Readers‘. And what was about to take place at 9.30am was a donation of over 10,000 books to these 12 schools.

Reflecting back to the beginning

3 friends on a chilled out 17th March back in 2012 were discussing life in general and how education had helped them to be where they are today. An idea popped into their minds that something can be done to help better the lives of children. And thus IMCD was born with ‘Needy Readers’ being the first project of many to come. An idea that started with 3 friends became a reality and is now in action with the help of over 100 active participants with help from all around.

Collecting Books to Trinco

Having an event and inviting dignitaries from 12 schools with over 200 students is no easy task. Add to it the 10,000 books donated to these schools, and you might wonder how it was all possible? The active volunteers, each with their own skillset was able to pull in the support of the public using numerous techniques and most notebly get noticed via social media (through their fb page and twitter). With each tweet mentioned about someone wanting to donate books, more inquires were made about ‘Needy Readers’ and the public did not hesitate to make donations wholeheartedly. With each share on fb, Needy Readers became a household name among the bookworms.

‘I’ve got some books, actually a box load! How can I donate them to you’ll?’

‘We have this event happening, we can encourage our audience to bring old books to donate during the event’

Such was the help received from strangers and friends alike to help achieve the book collection drive.

Traditional media also helped in to spread the news about the work of Needy Readers nationwide. A number of journalists intrigued by the activities online inquired and made interviews with the committee and was very helpful in giving publicity to the worthy cause. With mentions on TV and paper articles, it further helped to drive in books towards Needy Readers. The target of collecting 10,000 appropriate books was thus completed without much fuss. With the books collected in one main location, the volunteers met up on Sundays to sort and pack the vast number of books to be given to each of the schools. And they did so with immense pleasure and genuine smiles were in abundance.

Few of the volunteers with a book donor at main book collection location

Few of the volunteers with a book donor at main book collection location

Event would not have been posiible if not for support from public

Event would not have been posiible if not for support from public

Volunteers roam to Trinco

The books were taken to Trinco via train, with 7 volunteers from the group going on the 13th while the others left the night before the event. With so much to do to prepare for the event, help was at hand with 4th Amoured Regiment SLAC, China Bay looking after the logistics and lodging for the 30 crew. Once the books arrived via train, they earnestly provided transport. If not for the willing soul of Major Rodney Maxwell, things might have been a little more difficult. Luck was on the side of NR crew as the Major ensured that they were looked after like VIPs providing all necessary meals during the stay and even facilitating a bus for a tour around Trinco. Luck truly came to the deserved with each sweat that poured down from the volunteers.

A small step towards a better future for kids in Trinco

The 10,000 books were distributed amongst the 12 schools that were picked based on the genuine need. The numbers may not mean much but with each book that reaches the school, there is hope for the innocent kids to be encouraged by such en-devours and for them to have more focus on using the books to gain knowledge and stand shoulder to shoulder with the world. Sometimes, the little things can make a big difference.

The 12 schools that received book donations:

Trincomalee / Morawewa Dakuna Sinhala Vidyalaya

T/ Mahadiwiwewa Maha Vidyalaya

T/ Girls High School

T/ Sri Siddhartha Vidyalaya

T/ Rotawewa Muslim Vidyalaya

T/ Sri Mihindupura Vidyalaya

T/ Kiwulkada Vidyalaya

T/ Awainagar Tamil Mixed School

T/ Rotawewa Muslim College

T/ Sri Gomarankadawala Maha Vidyalaya

T/ Kiulkada Maha Vidyalaya

T/ Sri Mihindupura Vidyalaya

The joy that was expressed in the faces of the kids when they were receiving the books could not be fully expressed in a blog, all the hard efforts was very much worth it. Humbled by such faces the NR crew was.

Collage from the Trinco book donation event

Collage from the Trinco book donation event

The road ahead for a brighter future for Sri Lanka

The book donation held at Trinco was not an one-off incident. In fact, many more such events would take place in the near future via Needy Readers. The book collection enthusiasm has not dried up, the onlook for needy schools to give the books to has not dried up, the possibility of sharing books to those that lack such facilities has not dried up. If you came across this blog and not part of Needy Readers, you too can get involved, just send a msg to them on their fb page https://www.facebook.com/NeedyReaders and say ‘I would like to help, how can I get involved?‘ or ‘I’ve got books, can you tell me where I can pass them onto you’ll?‘ Or maybe just a courteous msg saying ‘thank you for doing this for our country‘ to uplift the spirits of the 100+ volunteers in the group, whatever it is, feel free to get involved and do your bit to shape for an educated future for Sri Lanka to stand on its own feet in this connected world of ours.

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Comments
2 Responses to “I have a little story to tell, it involves books and a future for Sri Lanka”
  1. I’m really proud to be a part of Needy Readers family! We had a great time! Yes! We did it! 🙂
    It was happen because of the donors all around the world! We have to pass our gratitude for them…

  2. Upul Senanayake says:

    Indeed Gihan, Trinco donation was one of biggest milestone of Needy Readers. Being part of Needy Readers family means a lot to me, where as the wonderful donors who were supporting NR so far should get more credits. B’coz without you, our dream could never become true. Why wait more, join us on FB or follow us on Twitter to give your support to create a better world….

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