Education holds potential to become a powerful catalyst for development. It is serving as a bridge from poverty to prosperity, from division to understanding, from exclusion to participation. But for education to achieve these objectives, it must be accessible to all. Even today many children cannot afford to buy textbooks- especially those from low-income families. An angel in disguise, Chandigarh-based Sandeep Kumar is trying to fill this gap. President of the Open Eyes Foundation, his NGO is working to provide study material to aid these students.
For A Cause
Ensuring that even the smallest requirement is fulfilled, pencils, pens, crayons, tiffin boxes, school bags, notebooks, registers and textbooks are being made available free of cost. Kids of several government schools, colonies and slum areas are benefitting from this noble cause.
In an interview with ChandigarhX, he talks about the idea behind starting this NGO. He says, “During my Junior Basic Training (JBT) in Haryana, I went for a six months internship at a government school. To my surprise, there were also some children who did not have adequate resources to study. They were deprived of even the basics- notebooks, textbooks, etc. When I returned, I saw a similar situation in Chandigarh too. The city boasts of educated and civilized people residing here, but there are also a lot of slums. After providing for food, clothing and shelter, imparting education to the kids had taken a backseat here.”
Kumar is connecting those seeking books and those donating in the city by bringing them all on one platform: Open Eye Foundation. You can give anything ranging from school books, college books, story books and even stationery, any kind of used books. They’ll personally come and collect it from your home. All you need to do is fill out a form. Your contribution is part of a greater cause, where these donated books will shape the future of countless students from underprivileged sectors across Chandigarh. “In due course, we have adopted colonies and distributed 10,000 books. 200 volunteers are dedicated to this noble cause,” proudly says the bookman. Shahpur Colony in Sector 38, Maali Colony in Naya Gaon and Colony No. 4 in Dhanas are adopted by this NGO. Regular surveys relating to household, hygiene, education, disability, etc. are carried out here.
His first camp was set up at Post Graduate Government College, Sector-11. There were no old books available then. So he purchased 40 books to supply the students who had requested for the same. That’s how this demand of used books in the city came into picture .
- Educational Institutions
In schools and colleges, distributing of textbooks is done every year to those students who cannot afford to buy them. A list of them is made available by the school teachers. Three-day camps are conducted in colleges to invite both- who wish to donate and the ones who seek them. Students have to fill up a form giving their complete details so that they can be contacted during the time of return. This helps in rotating to the new batch.
There are many tutors offering free education in slums. They help in providing data of the kids for their area.
No Compromise On Quality
“It is important to ensure that books are in proper reading condition with all pages clearly intact. As a matter of ignorance, young students discard partly-used notebooks. We collect them and make new ones. Used pens, that are often thrown, are also refilled,” adds Kumar.
Open Eyes Reader’s Club
The office of the Open Eyes Foundation is situated at Sector 39, Chandigarh. On Friday, the NGO launched a new project ‘Open Eyes Reader’s Club’. Under this, fiction and non-fiction books are collected and made available to those who’d love to read. They are at no cost. Interested individuals can get a membership at their camp in Panjab University.
The foundation also works towards bringing awareness about menstrual hygiene. Volunteers including doctors are educating females on using and properly disposing sanitary pads, and adopting cleanliness. Highlighting its importance for their well-being, sanitary pads are also made available to the ones who cannot afford.
More About Him
Sandeep Kumar, 27 years, was born in Haryana. Studying at a government school, but this did not form the basis of such a noble cause. Anything and everything was always available for him lovingly. He is running a car service station in Chandigarh. In regards to the NGO, his vision is of setting up a library where study material can be circulated among haves and have not’s.
The Open Eyes Foundation will be more than happy to accept books, stationery or volunteers. You can call at +91 75084 08205. For further details, check out their website.
So the next time you stumble upon old and forgotten books you don’t need anymore, you know what to do!
Let’s spread the joy of gifting and with that, learning.
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