Education is the key to removal of poverty. I truely believe in this. Indians have worshiped Godess Saraswathi since time itself. Vidya Daana is one of the Mahaa Daanas. One of the biggest problems in India and poorer nations or poorer pockets of richer nations is the lack of access to books. In India although government does the right thing and subscidizes books, the lack of infrastructure such as room to read, electricity or even fuel for light, health issues, family circumstances, kids having to learn money all have restricted the access to books and knowledge.
Education is not just about getting a university degree or a piece of paper. True education is about gaining knowledge and using it with facts and making decisions using facts and tempering with sympathy and empathy. Books open a door to a world where there issues which need analysis, whihc may take you to a world one can never visit or experience or tell a story which can take you to a world of fantacy.
How many of us as children did not read Chandamama and enjoy Vikrama and Bethala, how many of us as children go with alison in Wonderland and imagine we were all travelling on the yellow brick road? How many of us as teenagers did not enjoy Enid Blighton Adeventure of Five or Nancy Drew? These books made us forget the real world and took us into a world of imagination and a world of possibilities.
Indian street kids are estimated to be 18,000,000. There are about 11,000,000 (11 million) who do not get access to books at all. These kids have either never read a book and some havent even touched one. This is the reality in India. What can we all do?
Each One Read to One and Teach one to read. Print One Book on your printer and give it to a poor kid who can read. Print a book and give it to your maid and teach her to read atleast. Go to an orphanage and give a few books to kids to read.
How to access books?
In this blog I will provide you with links to free digital books. They are all legal books. There is no piracy or illegal ones here. I will provide all possible links so that everyone can use these books either by downloading and reading it on the computer or by printing it or reading it aloud for a child at home.
If you can print a small book and use it to read a book to a child from a slum, your house maids child or child in an orphanage you would have done your bit for education of poor.
Here are the links
http://ncertbooks.prashanthellina.com/ NCERT text books upto year 12 for downloading. Faster than original NCERT site.
http://www.textbooksonline.tn.nic.in/ Textbooks by Tamilnadu government. Includes English titles. Good site.
http://mission.akshaya.net/dpi/ Text books from Kerala State. Includes Kannda, English, Hindi and Arabic. Downloadable and fast.
http://www.dictionary.tamilcube.com/kannada-dictionary.aspx English to Kannda Dictionary
http://www.e-book.com.au/freebooks.htm This site has links to several web sites with free books
http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page This site is a important site as it has 1000s of books and many audio books to download and listen.
http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/ free software for reading in PDF format if you want
http://www.wdl.org/en/ World digital library launched by UNESCO
http://www.africaeducation.org/adl/ free access to those living in Africa
http://www.new.dli.ernet.in/ Digital libarary of India hosted by IISC. In kannada also. Bit slow site.
http://en.childrenslibrary.org/ Many books in various languages for children
http://www.storyplace.org/ Read storeys for children in English and Spanish
http://www.childrensbooksonline.org/ Read many children's books
http://wiredforbooks.org/kids.htm Read many kids books including Beatrix Potter's books
http://www.lonvig.dk/lucca.htm Books for kids in amny languages. Click on the flag.
http://kids.nypl.org/reading/Childrensebooks.cfm Books for children. Many Links
http://www.mainlesson.com/displaybooksbytitle.php Many children's books online
http://hindumommy.wordpress.com/2006/09/08/read-childrens-story-books-online/ links and some kids stuff.
http://www.bio-diglib.com/ Biomedical open access articles
http://www.medicalstudent.com/#MedicalTextbooks. Medical books for free
http://www.e-booksdirectory.com/engineering.php Free engineering and other courses books.
http://www.techbooksforfree.com/science.shtml Free engineering and science books.
http://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_1_index.html Sanskrit books and tools
http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/sanskrit/lessons.php Online Sanskrit self study course. Stepwise well organized.
http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/sanskrit/lessons.php Learn Kannada online.
http://www.englishclub.com/ Learn English online.
http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/ Get english grammar tips
http://www.word2word.com/course.html Free online language learning courses.
There are many more links to many more sites. I have given the ones I know work reasonably well and one can use it. If I can request each one of you to print 1 book and give it to a slum kid or read 1 book to a child in an orphanage who has never had a parent to buy or read books, then my effort to collect these would be worthwhile. Please think about it.