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Experience India raises money for library 10,000 miles away

In India, the swipe of an ID card won’t grant access to a library.

In the rural areas, libraries are rare, so a university organization is raising money to change this.

Priyanka Pramanik, vice president of Students for Asian Indian Culture Awareness, said the organization promotes cultures of South Asia.

They put on the “Experience India” event every year, but this year they went beyond teaching the TCU community about their culture.

The junior psychology and child development double major said being from India, she noticed a significant drop in literacy rates from urban areas to rural areas, which is what prompted her to raise money in order to build a library there.

“First thing, it was close to home,” she said. “Every time we went back to India to visit, we noticed the children had so much potential, but they just needed a stepping stone or a push to get involved with education.”

According to a UNICEF statistic, 37 percent of Indian adults are illiterate. India is home to 1/5 of the world’s population and nearly 1/3 of the people live in poverty.

Pramanik said SAICA partnered with Be Educated, an organization that promotes literacy, education, science and health in India and other developing nations, so they could put their funds toward building a library.

According to the Be Educated website, it cost $800 to build a library in India, which includes books and a one-year salary for a librarian to manage it.

Pramanik said SAICA raised $600 at “Experience India,” and she is confident they will find a way to raise the remaining $200.

Pratik Mehta, a SAICA member, said the event attracted the TCU community because of the snapshot into Indian culture, including Bollywood music and dances, Indian attire, and authentic Indian cuisine and skits. “We get to help a lot of people by fundraising,” he said. “And another thing is, we get to share our culture with the students at TCU.”

Feliza Fenty, a junior strategic communication major, said she thought the event was for a good cause, and served as a great way to broaden her world view.

“You have a better understanding of culture and knowledge of political situations,” she said. “It makes you a well-rounded person.”

Pramanik said her motivation is to see what both the Indian and TCU communities get out of the experience.

“I think it’s kind of both like seeing the children in India prosper as well as seeing people in the TCU community come for this event and get so much out of it,” she said. “You just see the happiness on their faces.”

She said SAICA will be in contact with Be Educated throughout the year and will receive several updates about where the library will be built, the progress of the library, as well as a list of books that Be Educated will purchase for the children.

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