Bookwallah has a simple story that grew from an idea and a passion. Founder Seena Jacob conceived the idea of the Bookwallah Organization in 2009 with her desire to spread the joy of reading to children of orphanages in developing nations across the globe. Partnering with her two co-founders, G. Riley Mills and Ranjeet Nambiar, the team visited several orphanages near the outskirts of Mumbai and Pune, India. They quickly discovered that many of these orphanages did not have adequate resources, proper funding and expertise to establish libraries for their children. However, there was clearly a need and desire. The team soon witnessed firsthand the joy and appreciation that spread across each child’s face after receiving the small gift of a book.
There are 143 million orphans in the world. That’s half the size of the population of the United States. Even though Bookwallah is a young organization, we are beginning to see that our programs are having an effect, are making a Transformation.
Transformation is girls like Kavitha, who was orphaned and rescued from child labor. She has been positively influenced by the reading sessions and now wants to continue to study. We hope one day she can speak about her experience.
Transformation is like Aarti whose mother was a commercial sex worker and she was found in the streets. She is now one of the most regular participants in our reading sessions. We do not believe she will be reliving her mother’s life.
Transformation is like boys like Balram who’s parents died and grandmother is old and frail and cleaning vessels. We heard boys like him are gaining more confidence and have been naturally inquisitive for knowledge.
We are truly transforming these children’s futures by raising their literacy rates, building their self-esteem, and introducinthem to the endless possibilities that await them. Books like Winnie the Pooh, Lion King, and Cinderella really bring about wonder and smiles. Great stories truly cross all borders!
Bookwallah’s greatest value is something very fundamental. It’s about giving hope, courage, and opening up eyes to a world of possibility. It is providing all of this to a group of kids that normally have great social stigma attached. It is ultimately telling that the stories of their lives to date — prostitution child labor, abuse, parentless, beggars in the streets– does not mean this is the story they will end up with.
It’s telling them that they too can become the HEROs of their own life. It’s telling them that they matter. All of this by “Sharing the Gift of Imagination”. With your help, we can move forward and make this wonderful, inspiring concept into a reality for many orphan children throughout the world.