09 May, 2021

Storybook Man

Lokhande picks the rural school library

Amit Haralkar
Storybook Man

‘‘I read the book Bokya Sanbande. It’s very nice. It’s about child­ren. I really like reading storybooks. We got the result of the story-writing competition long ago.” Pratiksha Ghawde from Tiwsa village in Amravati district sent this postcard to Pradeep Lokhande. It’s a simple, sweet message, one of the thousands he gets (about 150 a day on average!) but it’s a source of much gratification for him.

Lokhande has the distinction of setting up 1,255 libraries in 670 days in secondary schools in villages in rural Maharashtra. A social entrepreneur (and not an NGO as he emphasises), Lok­­hande’s mission is to set up 6,700 libraries in Maharashtra and 85,000 all over India. He has set up 1,560 libraries in the past 49 days, taking the total till last week to 2,100. By the time you cel­ebrate New Year, it would have crossed 3,190. Chasing records? No. Doing a shoddy job? No. Diverting extra funds from some charity? Certainly not. Then how is he doing it?

“I realised that if we want to change...

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