Karimba village in Palakkad gets youth organisation Kanal’s seventh reading room

Members of Kanal youth organisation with the books they collected for the library in Palakkad
By Steni Simon| Published: 05th October 2021 11:41 AM

‘Vayanaidam’ or reading space will open its doors to the children of Karimba grama panchayat in Palakkad district by next month. The reading space is being set up by Kanal, a youth organisation that creates awareness on issues such as child marriage, alcoholism and drug abuse among children across the state. The reading space at Palakkad is the seventh in Kerala. Five Vayanaidams are presently functioning in the state. Three of them were set up at Agali in Attappadi and one at Kavungal in Kollam district. The project is being supported by National Rural Livelihood Mission. One facility was set up last year at Manalpuram, near  Poonthura school in Thiruvananthapuram. One library has been set up in Mysore. 

“The concept behind Vayanadiams is not only to give the children from backward communities a space to read, but also use the facility as a space for hosting various activities like awareness programmes. Before setting up the reading space, our organisation conducted a study on social issues prevalent in the region and various measures taken to combat it,” says Anson P D Alexander, Kanal president.

Nearly 500
books were collected through a book hunt campaign for the upcoming library in Palakkad, which will have children’s literature, comics and magazines. “So far, more than 5,000 books have been collected for setting up libraries in different parts of the state. We plan to open many such reading spaces in tribal hamlets and coastal belts in the coming months,” said Anson.

FIRST-HAND INVOLVEMENT

A 2011 census report revealed that there were nearly 23,183 married girls under the age of 15 in the state. The districts that exceeded the state average were Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kannur. Later, in 2016, we did a vulnerability mapping in around 28 panchayats across the state. In a survey conducted in Kavungal, a tribal area in Vettikavala, Kollam, with around 200 families, it was revealed that nearly 18 child marriages happened in five years. Similarly, a study conducted by the Women and Child Development Department’s Integrated Community Development Societies (ICDs) in 2018 at Ithikkara block panchayat in Kollam revealed around 41 cases of child marriageS in a year. Vayanaidams were set up to address such social evils on a large scale, says Anson.

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