New in Northwest Delhi: In urban village, first women’s library offers many a room of its own
In the heart of Karala village, northwest of Delhi, is an airy room where young women have spent their days for the past week, studying in a space all their own in the district’s first women-only library.
Swati Mathur (20), preparing for the SSC exams, said she found studying at home to be full of distractions and frustrations. “I share a room with three of my siblings, so I don’t have my own space. There are people coming and going throughout the day. In the village, if someone is inactive, they will just visit someone’s house. Every time they come, my sister and I have to make tea. I think girls have more problems when they try to study at home. When my neighbors come, I have to face questions about when I am going to get married, ”she said, adding:“ My father works at DTC; he is very supportive. He discovered this library and told me to come here and study peacefully.
Mathur has been coming here every day for a week, arrives at noon and stays until closing at 5 p.m. or 5.30 p.m.
The library was installed on the first floor of the village community center through a collaborative effort between the village community and the district administration. The administration used funds from Beti Padhao Beti Bachao to set it up and partnered with Vision IAS, which provided books and workstations for up to 35 women. Two book shelves house NCERT books and history, geography, math, and analytical reasoning books, as well as books for competitions such as the UPSC, NEET, and JEE exams.
“This is a community project. They gave us the space and are committed to maintaining and caring for it. It is primarily aimed at young women, aged 21-28, who have completed their education and university and are now preparing for what to expect. This part is so far from the activity centers such as Rajender Nagar and Mukherjee Nagar. The library is free, so nothing should hold back women or their families, ”said Cheshta Yadav, magistrate of the North West Delhi district.
This last point was important for 20-year-old Vanshika Mathur, for whom financial constraints prevented him from affording a place to study. “There are actually quite a few ‘private libraries’ nearby but these are really expensive, around Rs 800 per month. I could never have afforded it and there is no home study environment so I had a hard time. But here it is calm. I bring my lunch and stay from 10 am to 5 pm, ”she said. Her father works as a bus driver and her mother is an Anganwadi worker. She is preparing for the DSSSB exams for the recruitment of teachers.
While the library was inaugurated just two weeks ago, other facilities and activities are planned around it.
“We wanted this space to be used by our daughters to study. All the girls in the village are our daughters and our sisters, and they can succeed in their studies… We asked for other things like a few computers, a WiFi connection, and we are trying to collect more books from the members of our community who are teachers and police, ”said Lala Mathur, a resident of the village who currently acts as a library guard.
Prachi Seth, district coordinator for the women’s and children’s development department in the district, said they were in contact with different NGOs and publishers to procure more books, including story books for young people. girls. She added that the DM and other women officers in the district are expected to organize orientation and counseling sessions on competitions for girls at the library.
Preety Panchal (20) said: “It is difficult to explain what I do, preparing for the SSC exam, to visitors at home. I have the impression that they may think that I am wasting my time. I like having this workstation to myself and getting away from everything else.