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Social Work Students Rebuild Dilapidated Library in Remote Kerala Village

By Joby Chethimattathil SDB
Inauguration of Rosemala Library
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Kollam, Aug. 17. The Social Work students of Don Bosco College, Kottiyam, Kerala, with collaboration from the local village, Rosemala, on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, rebuilt a dilapidated and abandoned library and inaugurated the facelifted library on August 15, 2021.
The students had taken note of the pathetic plight of the village library and reading room while they were there for ten days of rural camp. In the meeting with the villagers and the local authorities, the students decided to organize a book challenge through social media and raise the number of books required for the library to get a membership with the State Library Council. The students collected several hundred books from different parts of the world. The books, thus received, were sorted and handed over to the new administrative body of the library created by the villagers through the initiative of the social work students.

''Rosemala is a remote village completely cut off from the rest of the mainland. The only public transport connection it has with the rest of the world is a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus that comes once a day,'' said Father Joby, the Head of the Department of Social Work. ''A library cum reading room can play a big role in the social and cultural growth of a village. The library club will now give the lead for several other empowerment activities there such as tuition for poor children, cultural competitions, tournaments etc.,'' said Father Binny, the Vice Principal of the College.

Thrilled about the difference that the students could make in the lives of the village people, Jyothis, MSW student, said, ''We went through every process involved in organizing the community to do something. It took several meetings to convince everyone in the village of the need to have the library. We made several trips to different government offices to ensure that an administrative support system is in place for the initiative.'' Speaking about the initiatives and the future possibilities, Father Boby, the Manager of the College, said, ''We are not going to stop with the rebuilding and revamping of the library alone. We are exploring the possibilities of adopting Rosemala village as our key outreach location. Earlier, we had helped several school children with mobile phones to help them attend online classes. We will explore more ways of collaboration.''
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