Third Grade Student Runs Library to Help Educate Underprivileged Children

In a small slum in Bhopal, the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, 9-year-old Muskaan Ahirwar has established a library called ‘Bal Pustakalaya’ for the children of the area. Everyday after school Muskaan assembles the books outside of her house and waits for eager learners to come check out the books and listen to her read aloud. Rajya Siksha Kendra, the State Educational Center located right outside the slum where Muskaan has set up her library, has been providing the books.

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According to The Better India, Muskaan was given “the responsibility to educate other students in the area with the help of books provided by the centre” in 2015 by a team of the State Education Board who were “very impressed by her knowledge and zeal to learn more.” ‘Bal Pustakalaya’ has been officially recognized as a library by The State Education Board. With the help of her older sister, Neha, Muskaan runs a registry for the library in order to keep track of the books. Their parents are extremely proud, to say the least.

The inviting sign, which reads, “Run in association with the State Education Board. Friendship with books leads to friendship with the world. Come friends, let’s read, let’s get to know the world,” seals ‘Bal Pustakalyaya’ as an official library. Image provided by Twitter: @ANI_News 

Initially, ‘Bal Pustakalaya’ had about 25 books for the children to pick from and share with one another. The library now has 119 books, provided by officials. As the library grows more popular, Muskaan hopes that the the number of books will grow. “…I love doing this,” Muskaan told Times of India“Other children in slum area take books and return them the other day. Some stay back to read here with me and ask questions where they don’t understand.” Palak Sing, another student, added, “We play here, learn hear and read lot of books about freedom fighters and great Indian kings and many others.” 

Muskaan, her sister Neha, and all the children involved with the library have been, and will continue to be, an inspiration across India. All are working together, with the help of the State Education Board, to bring more books to ‘Bal Pustakalaya.’ 


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