Sarvahitey, which means the well-being of all, an NGO based in New Delhi and which has already taken up several initiatives to improve the quality of education for underpriviledged in the NCR region, has now stretched its reach to the North East India. Starting at Ungma in Nagaland, the NGO plans to slowly spread its wings to all the seven sisters and Sikkim.
With books donated by people from across the country, the NGO is in the process of upgrading the existing community library in the village. The first library in Ungma village, Mokokchung will be inaugurated by Justice L.S. Jamir, Executive Chairman, NSLSA and Guwahati High Court Judge on December 12.
The upgradation of the library is part of the NGO's original idea to build 1000 'cultural community centres' around the country. These centres apart from the usual function of a library would also double up as digital literacy centres, knowledge exchange hubs and skill training centres for local youth.
The Community Hall in Ungma, Mokokchung, Nagaland
In Nagaland, the Ngo has partnered with the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA). Lima Asen and Esther Aye, who are members of NSLSA are aiding in the process of upgrading the library and realizing the aim of developing it into a community centres. Nino Iralu, who is the Member Secretary, NSLSA, saw potential in this project and collaborated with Sarvahitey.
"The community centres," says Prem Prakash, co-founder of Sarvahitey, "will help bridge the gap between the mainland and the beautiful seven sisters and change the perceptions we have about the North East."
With rich cultural and natural heritage, the north eastern states possess humongous learning opportunity. However, this part of the country has long been neglected and hence remains largely unknown by the mainland population. The community centres strive to end this atmosphere of anonymity. As planned, one person from each community centre would visit other community centres set up by Sarvahitey and increase awareness about their cultural heritage.
"When you come to know another culture better, you tend to respect them more and acknowledge the differences in a more positive manner. This provision will help in bringing down the iron curtain between us," said Mr. Prem.
Prem Prakash from Sarvahitey addressing the crowd at Ungma, Mokokchung, Nagaland
"We also surveyed the local population and tried to find out why the existing library was not popular among the local population. Their responses all converged in the fact that the library has books on subjects which are often not interesting enough for an average person. With this in mind, we have sourced books which would appeal to all and sundry."
"The local youth is particularly interested in photography and music, so to increase engagement we will also be conducting photography workshops," said Mr. Prem.
The NGO will also conduct workshops and motivational lectures for the local youth intending to appear in civil services. This, says Prem, would increase representation of people from the North East in civil services. These workshops would be conducted by people who have already cleared the civil service exams and aspirants would be enlightened about preparation methods and do's and don'ts for the exam.
These community centres would also address the gender parity in the areas where these are set up. Sarvahitey plans to set up another cultural centre in Tuensang district around February next year which has involvement of the Women Council of Chingmai village of Tuensang district.
The Women Council Of Chingmai Village Nagaland
Sarvahitey has already set up two community centres in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and will soon turn toward Western and Southern India with plans to set up community centres in Goa and Kerala next.
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