Frequently Asked Questions...

Monday, April 10, 2006

1. Why the name, “Bakul Foundation”

The forum in which we have come together is called the Bakul Foundation to pay tribute to what was probably the first voluntary movement of its kind in modern Orissa – the Satyabadi School that was set up in the extensive bakul grove of Sakhigopal.

2. Is Bakul Foundation limited to Orissa?

Orissa is an obvious place to begin with as most of the people initiating the program belong to it and have both first hand experience and a deep feeling for the problems facing the state. However, as the movement gains momentum and more and more volunteers join, libraries and other such initiatives can be created and supported wherever a handful of local volunteers are found.

3. How can you reach out to Bakul Foundation?

Anyone can write to the group at the even if one is not a member and participate in the discussions.

4. Who can be a member and how can you become a member?

Anyone who believes in our mission and goals and wants to work with us to achieve our goals can be a member. To be a member, you just need to send a mail to indicating your desire for membership.

5. Why this model of starting the library and how the library fits into the larger vision?

We are interested as much in the starting of the library as in the process of a thousand people volunteering to start it. We also see our readers as potential agents of change in volunteering for community development initiatives. The rationale for this model comes from our belief that a particular voluntary initiative may not only be an end in itself but could become the starting point for creating further groups of volunteers and self-generating modules of community development programs.

6. What kind of library we are looking at and what are the benefits of this kind of library?

A. Through a library we are making the world of books and knowledge accessible to the public and particularly to underprivileged children and the youth so that the library becomes a potent instrument of building people’s capabilities to actualise the opportunities of a ‘knowledge economy’ and lessen the growing socio-economic inequalities.

B. We see the library as not merely a collection of books but as an open forum that actively promotes a sensible reading culture among the children and youth through different activities like storytelling sessions, educational workshops such as dealing with science or theatre, Art appreciation programmes, music sessions and film screenings, student presentations, creative writing workshops, formation of book clubs, guided tours to museums and heritage sites, ecological treks, and health awareness camps. In these activities, we shall be inviting experts in their respective fields to interact with the children and we shall also be inviting volunteers such as senior citizens and college students to continue the activities promoted by the library.

C. We want the library to be a space where children can discover themselves and their interests and have the opportunities to pursue and cultivate their interests. We also seek to create an ambience that is conducive to learning and attract the child to the library.

D. The reading and reference facility of the library will be free of charge though we shall charge caution money for the lending option.

E. We also see the library as an institution that works towards generating the spirit of volunteerism among its users to undertake further initiatives in community development programs.

7. Who is our Target Audience?

People from all sections of the society and all generations but our prime focus would be to target children, students and youth and to work with them to create a new generation of volunteers to carry forward future community development initiatives.

8. What is going to be the scale of the library?

A. The scale of the library has not been predetermined but will be according to the participation and contribution of our supporters/volunteers by 1st of April 2007 when it becomes operational. Since our larger goal is to promote the spirit of volunteerism it is your commitment for the cause that will be the biggest asset to take our first step. However small the beginning may be we are committed to make the library functional on 1st April 2007 and work towards expanding both the number of books and activities as we go along. As Gandhi said, “In a gentle way you can shake the world.”

B. The initial focus of the library will be on General and Educational Books for Children and Youth and on Science and Technology Books. The books will be in English, Oriya and Hindi. As we raise further resources, we shall develop it into a general library. We will expand the library as we go along to build comprehensive collections on a broader range of subjects covering both academic and general interests. At the same time, we have already been promised the excellent personal collections of two eminent academics. We hope to bring more such personal collections of academics and litterateurs into the fold of the library.

C. We are also happy to announce that there will be a special section to the library entitled Films and allied Visual Media. This is made possible by the Film Society of Bhubaneswar (FSB) having decided to shift its excellent collection of books to the library. FSB is another example of a voluntary initiative in Bhubaneswar for the promotion of a sensible media culture. The organization has been running successfully for the past one year with its regular screening and discussion of meaningful cinema, organizing film festivals and holding programs to introduce students and youth to the art of cinema. To build linkages like this with other voluntary organizations would be part of our larger vision of promoting volunteerism and attaining our core objectives.

9. What you can do apart from donating?

You can collect information about the best educational books from across the world and create a database, which we can use to source books for the library. You can volunteer to be a part of a specialized group depending on your interest and your expertise. You can join some of the groups we have started or you can start a separate group. Some of the groups we have started are a) Literature and Language b) Science and Technology c) Computers d) Social Sciences e) Sports f) Art g) Music and Dance h) Photography, Cinema and allied visual arts i) Theatre

Once the library becomes operational and you are locally available, you can participate in and organize voluntary initiatives such as reading sessions or educational workshops for children in the rural government schools or schools run for the urban poor.

10. What is special about your contribution to this library initiative?

By donating books and/or money, you are not merely a donor but a founder and stakeholder in the library. We want you to be more than a mere donor by being actively involved in our activities.

11. How we plan to account for the contributions?

The program Donate books: Build a Library aims to find a donor for every book in the library. So, from the donors we seek support in the form of books and/or money to buy books. Each book will carry a donor card acknowledging the donation. As a donor and stakeholder you will have free and constant access to the online database of the library including the complete catalogue, the complete list of books donated by you, all financial statements pertaining to the acquisition of books and all discussions and decisions regarding the activities of the library. We fully realize the value of transparency to the success of any volunteer program.
The running expenses of the library will be met from the contributions of the people who have initiated the program and institutional support.

12. When can you contribute and how do you go about it?

Bakul Foundation is in the process of being registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, Government of India and it is only after the registration that we shall start collecting books and money. If you want to contribute to the program, Donate Books: Build a Library with books or money or your man-hours, please pledge your support.

13. Why the Pledge?

By taking the pledge, you are indicating your support for the initiative. It also gives you the opportunity to assess the feasibility of the project by gauging the public response to the campaign before you finally decide to contribute and decide on the nature of your contribution. Your pledge will inspire many others to contribute. At the same time, each additional pledge creates a new set of potential volunteers for the program. Click here to take the pledge.