“Unlike other libraries where silence is a must, here children can play, discuss and learn. Ours is a laboratory that will create bright minds,” Kasula Ravi Kumar says.

Children from the locality engaging in reading at Lead Children Library at Narsampet of Warangal rural district in TelanganaAll images: By arrangement
news Education Sunday, January 24, 2021 - 15:42

"I suffered a lot because I lacked communication skills, faced humiliations as I couldn't frame a single sentence in English," says Kasula Ravi Kumar, a 35-year-old educationist who is on a mission to see happiness and pride of success in the faces of hundreds of children and rural youth. Kasula who hails from Narsampet of Warangal rural district was a college dropout owing to his family circumstances. He managed to complete a Polytechnic Diploma but could not become an engineer as he didn't have the money to pursue the course further. Today, he’s a beacon of hope for underprivileged children in his locality in Narsampet town, where he has set up a library to give these children access to resources that he didn’t have as a kid. 

Kasula works as a teacher in a state run Model School in Mulugu of Telangana. He completed his Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English from Dr BR Ambedkar Open University (DrBRAOU), and a regular MA in English from Osmania University's Nizam College and Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) from university college.
The son of an auto-rickshaw  driver and beedi roller managed to bag the post of a Post Graduate Teacher (PGT) in Government Model School in 2013.

Despite his low earnings, Kasula started providing career counselling and communicative english to rural youth free of cost, besides providing material under the Lead career development programme. It was during the lockdown that Kasula thought about setting up a library for the children in his locality to provide greater access to education, beyond the regular curriculum.

The recently set up Lead Children Library in a portion of his newly bought house, has around 6,000 books. Kasula spent around Rs 12 lakh to set up the library. Kasula says "No one should suffer the way I did. It is only education that can make a difference in this world. Unlike other libraries where silence is a must, here children can play, discuss and learn. Ours is a laboratory that will create bright minds."

His wife Shoba Rani, who is also a teacher at a private school, takes time to monitor or engage the children who keep floating to the library. Kasula, taking a brief break amid the cheers of children, says, "They can come and read silently or they can make noise and can engage in activity based learning."

Along with 30 children in the locality around 25 children from a local orphanage come and join in the Lead Children Library every day or on shift basis. The library is now also accepting books and children related infrastructure and stationary as donations. However the ambitious Kasula says that he will continue to run the library at any cost.

The Lead Children Library will also offer educational and career related material to youth and adults, Kasula says. "Though we are focussed on children, we have separate reading and discussion sessions for youth."

Kasula is now planning to set up a mobile library and 20 similar children libraries to serve rural and adivasi children in Mulugu district, as he works in the Venkatapuram Government Model School as PGT.

With 10% savings from his earnings, Kasula has so far trained around 2,500 rural youths in basic english communication skills and career guidance under Lead English Programme and has created environmental awareness through Lead Environment programme. Kasula who is hopeful about his battle for education says, "To win the battle against poverty and other social evils, education is the only weapon."

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