Indian Cricket Captain Makes a Pitch for Reading

India book bagsChildren in Karnataka, India, receive book bags from ChildFund filled with age-appropriate — and fun — books to encourage reading for enjoyment. Photo by Jake Lyell.

Reporting by ChildFund India

Last month, former Indian cricket team captain Anil Kumble helped launch a reading campaign with ChildFund India, presenting tote bags filled with books to children in Karnataka, a state in southwestern India. Each bag contained books appropriate for different ages, from 6 to 14, and the program aims to provide books to nearly 115,000 underserved students in 14 Indian states this year, with more to come in the next three years. ChildFund India also has plans to set up 30 community libraries throughout the country.

“If you want to get more knowledge, it is important to read books,” Kumble said. “A culture of reading picked up at this age will continue forever.” The campaign focuses on providing access to literature, creating a supportive environment and removing barriers to reading. To address poor electricity in rural areas, families will receive solar-powered lamps with chargers that can also be used for cell phones and flashlights.

By giving children the opportunity to own books other than school textbooks, it is hoped the “Books, My Friends” program will inspire them to become lifelong readers for fun and enjoyment.

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