“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”- Mark Twain (American author)
India is an amazing country full of color and contradictions. You will find bullock carts, auto rickshaws, motorbikes, and bicycles maneuvering their way around the Mercedes and Suzukis. The smooth travel of the new wide superhighways is occasionally interrupted by a lumbering cow or a woman carrying a water jug on her head. New malls and technology parks are not too far from the local bazaars and the matchbox storefronts. The country is alive with excitement and possibility. It has always been that way.
- India is one of the fastest growing countries in the world with a GDP growth rate of 6.5% (2009 estimate).
- Population is estimated at 1,156,897,766
- There are about 15 official languages in India- Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Kannada, Oriya, Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, and Sanskrit. (CIA factbook).
- English enjoys associate status, but is commonly understood as the necessary language to learn for upward mobility and economic development. There are an estimated 65M English [second language] speakers.
- Diverse religions including: Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.1%. (CIA factbook)
- Literacy rate of those over 15 who can read or write is 61% as compared to 99% in United States.
- India is the world’s largest democracy.
According to UNICEF, there are an estimated 25 Million orphans in India, a number that is expected to rise in the coming years due to increased cases of HIV and AIDS among the population. Our initial research has shown that books of interest to the children are rarely available to the children of orphanages, despite the need and desire for them. Bookwallah’s focus is to provide storybooks to orphanages within India, both in English and the local language, through the Bookwallah Book. Additionally, Bookwallah would like to offer the Bookwallah Reading Rug Program for those orphanages that do not have separate child-friendly reading areas with complimentary Bookwallah Reading Services.