Bookworm Goa

Bookworm started out as a children’s library in Goa’s capital, Panjim, run by two inspired educationalists, Sujata and Elaine. But it was always destined to be far more than that and now it runs multiple projects for the community as a whole – the original Library, a Book Treasury that distributes a rolling stream of books to under-resourced schools together with literacy help when required, an Outreach program that has started taking home-developed literacy schemes into Goa’s pocket slums and marginal schools and even a fledgling publishing venture.

I met Sujata when Our Lady of Rosary School in Mandrem needed a ready supply of books and I was immediately impressed with her drive and ambition for Bookworm. But it was she and her highly educated colleagues who were running themselves into the ground just delivering books and budgeting was a big problem.

Helping Elsewhere started by helping  to raise the funds (at our Hollywood Ball) for a minivan and driver and then worked with the team to balance the load and finances. Bookworm has now blossomed and it now works with other groups in Goa and the rest of India to spread the knowledge and expertise gained.

Finances are always going to be an ongoing problem to an organisation with such scope and so Helping Elsewhere is still raising funds for the Mobile Outreach Program (MOP) that is run by recent ‘graduates’ of Bookworm and takes the minivan into areas where literacy doesn’t normally feature to start the first tentative steps into reading. We are also trying to help in expanding their publishing venture, both in India and in the UK.

Bookworm has shown us what happens when a young dynamic organisation is only limited by funds and management expertise when it ‘cuts loose’ into the community. Very inspiring!