"Every day do some writing & whenever you can keep reading"
We Receive Responses
PaanPoee Readers respond -
PaanPoee readers - supervisors, teachers, students, mentors, municipal school authorities etc. – offer spontaneous feedbacks, revealing the profound influence PaanPoee reading has on their lives. Highly encouraging to us, you will find these interesting, at times disturbing. They are eye-openers, forcing us to adjust and rethink on our preconceived ideas about young and old of the underprivileged rural interiors.

You will observe that our PaanPoee Libraries have become not just passive reading places but ‘lively classrooms’, teaching, correcting, evaluating and motivating the readers.
We quote below a few: (some letters we have scanned and kept, along with the names of senders and villages):

Can you believe this? Books especially for Children?
Never heard of this!
A 2nd std. girl student reports from 'Lasalgao center’:                           
‘We had never seen any books meant for children! After getting books from ‘PaanPoee’, it was for the first time that I knew that there are books for children! I enjoy reading those a lot. Whenever I used to see bright children talking about their achievements on TV, I always felt that I too should be like them. Now with variety of books I get to read I feel confident that I will do it!'
Fact or fiction?
A teacher reports:
'A 10-yr old boy started coming regularly to the ‘PaanPoee’ library at a time when he should be in his school. When asked why he was not attending his primary school, he said he hated school, studies, reading…., etc. The teacher then made up an excuse that “though PaanPoee reading is free, the patrons want only school-going kids here to read".
He stopped coming. But within two days his mother came, asking what magic this teacher did that her boy had started going back to school! And so, now, can he please come and read, after school hours?'
This too happens!
A Balwadi teacher reported an amazing incidence:  
'Our PaanPoee library workers, (most of them KG schools or Hobby class teachers), are given training for our PaanPoee Library activity. We realized that they too enjoy reading the books meant for children as much as the children do.
The reason?
It is heart wrenching - almost all of them confided that they never had access to books while they were growing up as there were none around. Now they consider themselves lucky to carry these bags full of books, which open a completely new world for them as well! Some parents say that if they take their child to a fair or are visiting some place where the child sees a book stall he insists on buying the books and ready to forego other goodies." She reports that she is keen to encourage the reading habit.'
Any scrap of paper, with words on it, would do!
A village boy of 14 narrates:
‘Thanks to my ‘PaanPoee-generated’ new interest in reading, I read anything that I get in my hands. The other day, while opening a small package I bought of items wrapped in old newspaper I happened to read  in it a piece on “how to take precautions while using Cooking gas from cylinder". I immediately read it out to my mother and sister; they were extremely pleased to learn this.’
Does reading affect production?
Our books are taken to even work places. In one village where 50/70 women workers gather to roll country made cigarettes (called beedis) for the owner, our PaanPoee social worker asked if she can read PaanPoee books to them while they are working. He flatly refused fearing loss of daily output. Our helper persuaded him to give a try. Within 2 days he was most enthusiastic to welcome her, openly admitting that the production had increased – thanks to the new zest seen in the workers, while listening to the interesting and fascinating reading in their otherwise monotonous, tiresome tobacco-rolling job.
A ‘Win – Win’ situation for all,  in unlikely situation!
A few months ago we planned on a trial basis reaching kids and mentors living in deep, isolated clusters and hamlets by renting, partially, a Van.
The van has to pass through a toll booth which collects charges as toll tax. The driver mentioned to them that this is not a commercial or private travel but to serves to offer books for good reading to the interior kids, guardians, etc., all free of charge, a social service! The toll staff was curious, saw the books, and requested if he can leave some books for their reading, to be collected while returning in the evening.
And of course no more Toll tax - free passages regardless!
This is working to mutual pleasure and satisfaction – a ‘win, win’ situation indeed!
Can you imagine this?
On another route our van once went to a real interior community and carried our books. None of the kids had seen a book, and brand new colorful ones at that.
They simply held them in their hand and kept looking at them and feeling....!
If this is hard to imagine, it just shows how far we urbanites are removed from realities of villages of India!
Young or old – welcome all!
One of our teachers has reported:
‘One old village woman grazing her cattle was regularly reading books from the PaanPoee under a tree. A young lad in the fields approached her and wistfully said that he too liked to read but had to leave schooling due to circumstances. Can she help to get some thing for him to read, please? Needless to add, this was arranged!'
Students - hungry to read!
A school boy of T. Dabhade narrates to his teacher:                   
‘We eat our Tiffin in the short recess, so that in the lunch break we run across to the ‘PaanPoee’ Library bag to read wonderful books. Everyday we read 2/3 books..... We want to read more and more to become bold, selfless, and healthy and be on the tops!
I request to please allow us to read in the summer holidays by bringing the library bags in the summer break…’
Bits of knowledge everywhere - for a PaanPoee reader
A 10th std girl writes:
‘Thanks to my ‘PaanPoee-generated’ new interest in reading, I read anything that I get in my hands. The other day, while opening a packet I bought of items wrapped in old newspaper I happened to read in that scrap “how to take precautions while using Cooking gas from cylinder". I immediately read it out to my mother and sister; they were really pleased to learn this.’
Help in projects
From another village where we started ‘PaanPoee’, an 8th Std. student from a local school writes:
‘I particularly enjoy reading the PaanPoee books on ‘Fun with science.’ We had a project in school to display some scientific experiments. I made a display and got award for that. My teacher wondered how I knew so much. Then I showed him the books I get to read from ‘PaanPoee’. Now many of my friends are also reading these library books. We really enjoy reading. I am truly thankful to you.'

From a 10th std. student ‘Pratikesh’, Wadgaon, Maval: 
‘Our teacher gave us an assignment on 'Environment'. I remembered one ‘PaanPoee’ book I had read. I borrowed it again to prepare my project; drew the sketches myself and also wrote an introduction. And not only on Pollution but that book also gave me facts about health & our body. All this knowledge being readily available, my Project was the first and was very much liked by all.'
Reading bridges the Generation Gap

From Prachi, 4th std. in the District Girls' school, Sangola:
‘My Grandmother started visiting ‘PaanPoee’ Vachanalay….because of her, not only me but even my friends are now addicted to reading books. We have stopped watching TV…Now grandchildren are reading to their grandparents and they listen with rapt attention…’

But a boy reports about young ones reading to grandparents:
‘If you go to anyone’s house in the afternoon, you will find someone there with a book in hand…'

From Deepali, a std. 10th girl student from Talegaon, Dhamdhere:
‘My mother told me about the new ‘PaanPoee’ library bags brought daily in my old school.... the teacher helped me in search of the books and I selected one which gave lot of information on trees like Tamarind, Neem, Mango, Lime etc. I was thrilled to get information which I wanted for a long time...’

A student of 9th class:
‘I have been reading ‘PaanPoee’ books for the last 3 years… my reading has improved, my writing has become cultured- all helpful to my life. My friends borrow these books and then would forget to play!'

From a girl student:
‘In my school I used to get bored with reading; then our next door Sumantai started running ‘PaanPoee’ reading Center. Now we girls go there every Saturday-Sunday to read different books and I now thirst for reading all the time.’

Our Supervisor for 18 PaanPoee centers operating from Baramati town, overseeing 450 pre-KG children in villages, bastees and waadis, reported a birthday celebration of a KG and Hobby class children who enacted program in honor of great leaders and saints. The kids dressed in the period costumes and spoke about the lives of these heroes. All this was inspired by the biographies and pictures made available from ‘PaanPoee’.

Responses from many teachers and the parents:
'Now we are better prepared to satisfy the curious minds. Every Saturday we hold ‘book-reading and discussion’ sessions. Remarkably, women are most eager to respond and wish the center was never closed!'
Birthday money used for Reading?
From Govt. school of village Bandalwadi, the hobby class teachers write:
‘We circulated the wonderful, colorful books of the ‘PaanPoee’ center...…we had never seen or read such things. We get lots of knowledge … some kids wanted to purchase books with their own pocket money’

Teacher Kamal from Mahud writes:
'I encourage children to discuss the books which they have read. That makes reading activity enjoyable and not a task. If a child gets impressed by anything special in that book, others listen intently while he talks about it. Such activity brings them closer.'
Reading aloud to gain confidence
Early to read and early to rise- in Life!
A mother of a ‘defying’ 7 yr. old girl reported:
'My child would not touch any vegetable despite my repeated persuasion, even punishments. But one day she came home and asked for vegetables with her meals. I was surprised and when asked ‘why’ she said she had just read in her PaanPoee book that kids who does not eat fresh vegetables will have bad eyes and wear spectacles. “I want vegetables with my every meal!”'
Vijay - a 15yr. old student writes:
‘I have just given the Board exam of 10th std. and taken a job in house-construction to help pay for further education. On my weekly holiday I devote full time to reading your books – at least 5 or 7. You have immensely obliged students like me by this library.’
Benefits all around
A teacher from Mahud:
'I encourage children to discuss the books which they have read. That makes reading activity enjoyable and not a task. If a child gets impressed by anything special in that book, others listen intently while he talks about it. Such activity brings them closer. Some parents say that if they take their child to a fair or visiting some place and child sees a book stall he insists on buying the books and ready to forego other goodies. She is keen to encourage reading habit in friends.'  

A college student studying in 2nd year M.B.B.S. (ex-Parner), writes:
‘I am regularly reading books from ‘PaanPoee’ library, which has created in me not only an interest in reading but has done the impossible job of bringing about change in my sense of right and wrong …books like Chhawa, Dronacharya give me confidence that now, when I become a Doctor, I will have better ability to communicate with my patients. I am selecting books for my younger brother in 5th standard and now he too desires to enrich himself by reading… Kindly do send such selection of books through his teacher... And I do hope to help in your project in future...’
A girl student from Utkarsha Vidyalay:
'I go to my uncle's village every Sunday so that I get to read books from ‘PaanPoee' bag kept by the Balwadi teacher. I read many books like on Tilak, Vivekananda, Rani Zanshi, Gandhi, Sane Guruji, and my sister taught me a lesson about ‘Ekalavya’... I feel like reading all the time, thanks to this Vachanalay. As for myself, I like to read lives of women who overcome problems and get empowered…’
Reading for Broader Vision
One Vanasthali Trainee teacher was conducting a class for new Balwadi teachers in a remote village called Satral, where majority come from Muslim community and some are Christians.
The two girl trainees told that they had to convince their families to let them come out and do this class and how happy they were to learn new things. Of course they come to the class wearing a veil but would remove it in the class, even when gents are present!
One of them was a widow and was short of money to buy craft paper; her young son parted with his 'Eid baksheesh' to help her - she is bent upon becoming a library assistant! Another trainee, Babita, a Christian, who wants to be a library worker, was enjoying reading books from the bags. Here is what she had to say...
'With my mother my only reading was Bible. Now I get so many ‘PaanPoee’ bookson many subjects. After reading a book on the Life of Saint Dnyaneshwar, my whole perspective changed. What a closed life I was leading by not reading everything.
And, by the way, have you read this book on Dnyaneshwar? Please do so if you have not. Do send more about him to me.'

(Our supervisor had to suppress her smile because countless millions, for centuries, have been familiar with ‘Dnyaneshwari’).

‘PaanPoee’ book selections have achieved broadening of vision, making people forget caste, creed and religion and enjoy the vast knowledge that books offer.
PaanPoee: Inspiring the lives….
See the photo of a van which carries books as well as some hobby material for school children?
A newly hired van driver, after just a few runs, disclosed:
'I was rather reluctant to take up this job as it all looked a ‘Ladies-kiddies’ run! But to my surprise I have started liking it. I enjoy visiting schools, be with children clamoring for books. In fact I too have started reading the books instead of just sitting in the van. The books are full of information. In fact I am going to ask my wife and sister to join and read...
When we got ‘PaanPoee’ Center for our locality, I visited it with 4/5 friends. Seeing all those books, we could not make up mind what to take away... I have by now read heroic life stories of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev... I am thrilled! Then I read about Madam Cama, J.C.Bose, and Aryabhatt. We do not get any such knowledge even in our school texts…’

The teacher from Sangola writes:
'I have observed that children get highly impressed by stories of adventure, people going out of the way to help others and the success stories of famous persons.  They want to emulate such persons. Also the reading makes them aware of social sense and some kind of responsibility towards each other.'
TV and Computers - the powerful ‘Modern Guru’
(Select reports from Computer Classes possible only in relatively bigger and luckier villages, with electricity and a computer):
The PaanPoee KG teacher cum helper from Kolhapur has made a very significant observation. She says:
'Television has become a vital part in all houses in villages with electricity. Consequently children are getting used to "Receive" all the time, a passive action. So, for some time, I was making deliberate efforts to encourage reading habits in my PaanPoee center.’
She gladly reports that children are now keen to read. Their vocabulary has increased and they ask the meanings of difficult words. Indeed they show genuine interest in reading. After some meetings with our other helpers, they all are praise for our reading project!
TV - Exciting start to Literacy   Computers - Inspiring start for literacy

A 1st std. teacher reports:
'Students are already familiar with TV, so they feel computer screen is also like TV and are immediately attracted to it... I devised a new approach: ‘A student who can write his name in English will be given a chance to type it on the computer.’ Within no time every student picked up English Alphabets, could type his or her name on computer.'

A girl student, Soni, writes:
'I am just crazy about reading... do not watch TV any more. The biographies of our great leaders have inspired me so much, now I give speeches on our 15th August (Independence Day). I feel electrified…’

A girl student of 9th std:
‘We have one T.V. at home. Every one wants to watch programs of their choice, and mostly there is no electricity. So what is the point sitting at home? So I run to ‘PaanPoee’ Vachanalay which is open in summer holidays in Teacher's home. I read books on many subjects and usually I take my younger brother along. Even if he cannot read, he sees pictures and tries to draw some pictures himself.  What a relief to get to have such books in holidays!'

An innovative 2nd std. teacher says:
‘Students are already familiar with TV, so they feel computer screen is also like TV and are immediately attracted to it. Seeing this I invented a new approach: A student who can spell his name in English will be given a chance to type it on the computer.
Within no time every student became familiar with English Alphabets and could type his or her name on computer.'

From 2nd std. teacher of Lonari village:
‘I gave the kids computer keyboards to handle...the result? They got to knowing alphabet A to Z and digits 1-9 within no time...I gave them MS paint program and they loved drawing figures, using mouse and Microsoft Paint to color. There is lot of fun and laughter when some kids can't control the mouse and produce funny results.’

Some of our PaanPoee Supervisors report: 
As schools are closed for summer (mid-April to mid-June), many teachers help volunteering to conduct 2/3 day camps just for reading. Lots of children attend these camps.

Enhanced empathy and initiatives since PaanPoee
The Supervisor of 25 Balwadi teachers, while forwarding her teachers’ responses received from their kids writes:
'Reading these I myself feel touched…. even our village children can show improvement with good guidance, which your ‘PaanPoee’ centers are providing. 
The teachers are doing a wonderful job, have not asked for even a penny for the extra work they put in to manage the book bags and circulation. Recently we exchanged books between the adjacent villages but feel the need to supplement the collection…. We have started 2 new centers and are in need of 2 more bags of books; and we hope to start one more center of PaanPoee as soon as possible.'

Towards Literacy / Education
From a KG teacher (for pre-school kids 3 to 5 yrs. old):          
‘The children like books with large type, they want to hold them in their own hands, are eager to see the pictures on the cover, turn pages with tiny fingers which, no doubt, in future will turn pages to read big volumes…’

The PaanPoee Village Libraries, a mission to create interest in wholesome, life-building ‘Reading’ amongst young and old, with 30,000 books, 640 helpers, teachers, volunteers, spread over 80 communities try to do utmost to serve all freely.  PaanPoee - a roadside kiosk offering knowledge freely to all!