Children are the changemakers of the world.
During the summer of 2016, I was working with a few NGOs to help teach children. I had a really great time teaching these children, but the feedback I got from them was that they did not find their coursebooks interesting. This is an inherent problem in the education system of India. Here, textbooks are written for rote learning and thus do not interest the children. Ibegan thinking of a way to pique the interest of these children in reading. Thus, ‘The Padho Movement’ was born. ‘Padho’ in Hindi means ‘to read’.
Since I began reading books from the time I was in first grade, I have always wanted to write my own novel. When I was in the third grade, I picked up a notebook and began writing in it. This was just after I had read my first Hardy Boys. When I finished half of the notebook, I went and showed it to my father. He told me the book was almost a copy of the Hardy Boys. Many more failed attempts followed. I always felt that I would not be appreciated for my writing, and thus I did not make an attempt to get it published. I know there are many more enthusiasts like me who feel the same way. The Padho Movement provides a platform for stories to get published, and it is for audiences who are completely unbiased and would appreciate the writing for what it is.
The Padho Movement also inculcates an important quality among children – ‘the art of giving’. We as children do not have money to donate for charity, but we can donate two of our most precious resources – our time and our skills. By starting this initiative, I want to give to everyone what books have given to me. Reading books has transported me to another world altogether where I have helped overthrow kingdoms, flown among the birds, fought alongside Harry Potter, and whatnot.
Even if we can get one child interested in reading, I would consider this movement to be a success. The art of giving is an important quality that everyone should possess, and keeping that in mind, the tagline for The Padho Movement is ‘Donate a Story’.
After conceptualizing the idea for a month, I set about collecting the stories. I wanted to collect ten stories for the book. So, I contacted a few of my friends and told them about the movement. The response was tremendously positive. Everybody wanted to help. The problem that surfaced was that the quality of stories were not up to the mark. I was looking for stories to interest the readers, stories that did not follow a dictated norm.
I realized that I needed to increase the reach of the movement. I created a website (www.thepadhomovement.com) and Facebook page www.facebook.com/thepadhmovement) for the movement.
Yet, I did not receive stories for about two weeks. I asked my friends to share the page among their Facebook friends. That is when the whole movement turned around. I received stories not only from Delhi NCR but also from Mumbai and Ajmer.
This book is a compilation of ten stories and two poems.
The book has five adventure stories – ‘Back to the Past’, ‘Lost in Etava’, ‘A Witchy Tale’, ‘Tiger Tiger Burning Bright’, and ‘The Thirteen Swans of the Village Girl’. There are two horror stories – ‘Tomorrow’s Echoes’ and ‘Relocation’. There is a psychological story as well called ‘My Sweet Ethan’, and a story set in medieval times called – ‘The Protector of The Realm’. One of the most interesting stories in the book is a prequel to the classic Snow White, which would surely interest the younger generation. In addition to this, there are two poems – Goldilocks and The Little Red Riding Hood. The book ends with an ‘Epilogue’ which aims to help the readers on how to improve their English reading, writing, and understanding skills.
This book would have not been possible without my parents. Their support has helped me through some of the most difficult parts of this journey. I would also like to thank all the contributors who have worked to make this book a success. I would even like to acknowledge my friends who have helped me spread the movement and have worked zealously to ensure that I get all the stories. A big thanks to the Ponytale Books for believing in this movement to publish this book. A final thanks to Pranav Uncle, for tirelessly working with me, answering all my queries and getting this book in the shape it is today.
I wish to end by saying that this is just the beginning and we hope to publish more such books in the near future.
Gurugram, 20 September 2016
LHritik Sapra, 20 September 2016 , The Padho Movement