Bebook and the Transformative Power of Books
Books have the amazing power of transporting us to fantastical worlds, fuelling our imagination and even changing us as human beings. To young children, books can be an incredibly transformative experience, allowing them to explore a world unknown to them hitherto.
Bebook is an NGO which runs the Bebook Mobile Library for Children, to bring the joys of reading to underprivileged children. The focus is on making reading an enjoyable experience rather than an exclusively educative one. Every week Bebook goes to four government primary schools, the state juvenile home, and a boys home, besides other places. The NGO reaches out to migrant children and children located in rural areas with no access to books as well.
When books are returned, the children’s understanding of the books they have read is evaluated through storytelling and writing. This helps in enhancing the education of the children. The NGO conducts other activities along with lending books to children, such as programmes connected with theatre, art and craft, music, etc which are also a means to inculcate a love for books. Books have also been used by children for the purpose of researching information to complete school assignments and projects.
The name Bebook is derived from bebuc, the Goan word in Konkani for frog, aside from being a play on the word ‘book’. Bebook grew out of a seed of an idea planted by Diviya Kapur. Diviya, who previously practiced as a lawyer in Delhi, is now synonymous with Literati Bookshop and Café in Calangute, after having set it up 14 years ago. Receiving support from a group of women from the Literati Book Club, the Bebook began its activities in 2008 as part of the Tara Trust and was registered as an independent trust in February 2012. A native of Bangalore, Diviya now calls Goa her home and is Managing Trustee of Bebook. Suchitra Menon, a barrister with extensive volunteering experience, and Arundhathi Chattopadhyaya, a dancer and actor who uses books, music, dance and films in her pursuit of transforming the lives of underprivileged children, make up the rest of the board of trustees.
The books at Bebook are donated by generous folks and organisations, and money for projects is raised through various fundraisers. Donors and volunteers form the cornerstone of Bebook. Diviya says of the hurdles faced by the Trust, ‘Since we are a very small organisation and function largely with the help of volunteers, having enough volunteers through the year is a challenge. Bureaucratic paperwork is also a headache. Our interactions with the children make it all worth it. They give us reaffirmation of why we continue to do what we do.’
With the hope of sustaining prevailing activities and inspiring new volunteers, Diviya speaks of the significance of the tangible presence of a book in the lives of children and the impact of Bebook thus far. She says, ‘Anyone who is a book lover knows how important and different the handheld book is. Other than the fact you can go into an imaginary world and discover new things, there is no doubt that what you read in a physical book, registers in the brain of the reader much more than what you read online. We have hopefully made readers of hundreds and thousands of children over the years, and introduced whole new worlds of imagination, aspirations and dreams for them.’
If you wish to donate or volunteer at Bebook, you can contact Diviya at:
The Children's Mobile Library
E/1-282 Gaura Vaddo, Calangute, Bardez, Goa 403516
Tel: (0832) 2277740