Meet 9-Year-Old Muskaan Who Runs A Library In Bhopal To Educate Other Kids In Her Slum

10/03/2016 5:15 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Indian schoolgirl studying in the classroom at her poor village school outside Bandhavgarh National Park. The children sit barefoot on the floor to learn their lessons. She is wearing a school uniform.

They say a pen is mightier than a sword. Ask 9-year-old Muskaan Ahirwar, and she will agree. Like all other 9-year-olds, Muskaan goes to school, is curious about new things and loves playing in her free time.

The class 3 student from Bhopal also runs a library for other kids.

In Bhopal, in a slum area in Arera Hills, right behind the Rajya Siksha Kendra (State Educational Center), the 9-year-old runs a library--Bal Pustakalay, reports Times Of India.

Everyday, after returning from school, at about 4 in evening, Muskan sets up the library for slum children outside her house. The students eagerly wait for her to open the library and as soon as she does they surround her to listen to her stories and read their books.

"We play here, learn hear and read lot of books about freedom fighters and great Indian kings and many others," one enthusiastic reader told TOI.

The idea of a library in the slum area was conceptualised in December when the local branch of the Rajya Siksha Kendra realised that while many children go to school they do not really bother reading once they’re back. They first gave about 25 books to children to share and read. The library now has 119 books.

To create an interest among the kids, the members of the Siksha Kendra held a quiz competition among the kids. Muskaan won the quiz and was one of the most enthusiastic participants the Kendra members had met.

She was then given the responsibility of educating other students in the slum.

"I love doing this. Other children in slum area take books and then return other day. Some stay back to read here with me and ask questions where they don't understand," Muskaan told ToI.

With the help of her elder sister, who is in class 7, Muskaan also maintains a register for her library.

Muskaan's father is a carpenter by profession. Her mother, who is a housewife, is very proud of her two daughters. "We never thought she would bring about a change in the society," she said.

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