Children merely need the right direction from elders and not spoon feeding to take up the successful path. Meet Baby Muskaan Ahirwar, from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh who is in her 5th grade at school and has already earned repute for herself as possibly the ‘Youngest Librarian’ of country for seamlessly running a Library for past two years in her makeshift home located in slums Arera Hills, behind the office of Rajya Siksha Kendra (State Education Centre). She has enjoyed every bit of her journey as a librarian who operates it from evening 5 PM to 7 PM. Her zeal to help the slum children to gain knowledge has not deterred even after the sad demise of her father in July 2017. Here is a small post on the exciting journey of this girl as an educator for slum children whose library today proudly possess more than 1000 books.
Everything started with the visit of officers from State Education Centre, Madhya Pradesh to Muskaan’s slum with the intention of getting first-hand information about Learning Curve of slum children on the eve of New Year December 2015.
The officers conducted a quiz session amongst the children and Muskaan, a natural talent emerged victoriously. Pleased officers handed over a bundle of 25 Books as a token of appreciation and urged her to share the same with all the children in her locality. Thus Muskaan kept her toes in the shoes of a Librarian. Every evening after returning from school she would spread these books on a mat, and all children will assemble to read stories. Within two months, all the books were read by the children, and they eagerly waited for a fresh set of books. For their delight on January 26th, 2016, the Republic Day, a new set of books arrived at their premises.
By now Muskaan had learned the art of lending the books and ensuring it is read and returned by using a register-book. She also takes help of her elder sister Neha Ahirwar in running the show. Her father Monhar Ahirwar a carpenter by profession and mother Maya stood by her in all her endeavors. (As mentioned earlier, unfortunately, Muskaan lost her father in July 2017).
After two successful operations of the library, which started when Muskaan was in 3rd Grade, her library has more than 1000 books. Muskaan was very much disturbed with unexpected demise of her father in July of this year. But to keep her spirit of supporting the children of slums, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has extended Govt. support by offering her Rs. 2 Lakhs as financial assistance to equip her library. Also his Govt. has promised to construct a permanent structure (a Room) for her Library near her premises. The C.M has also urged the entire society to back up such initiatives of children so that the social fabric will entirely transform.
Muskaan has left behind the tragedy that occurred in her personal life and is excited to keep up with the promise she had made her father that she will dream big and achieve big. Speaking about her career plans, she confidently says that “I want to become a renowned doctor.”
Recognitions & Milestones
She is the youngest recipient of the ‘Thought Leader’ award by NITI Aayog (she received this award from Olympic medallist & wrestler Sakshi Malik). She is one amongst the 12 winners selected as part of ‘Women Transforming India’ campaign. The online campaign was launched on International Women’s Day by Niti Aayog in partnership with MyGov and United Nations.
Kalam Fan Club is proud of this girl who is still at her school has become a beacon of light to all others so that we tread the path of Educating and transform the society.