Dhondenling Tibetan settlement, Kollegal, in South India, was established in 1974 with the help of the Government of India and Karnataka State. Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency (MYRADA) extended their technical help in construction of living quarters, settlement offices, hospital, school buildings, road etc. It is located at Odeyarpalaya, Kollegal Taluk in Karanataka State, nearthe Karnataka – Tamil Nadu border. Dhondenling consists of 22 villages / camps spread over a total area of 3000 acres and agriculture is the primary livelihood in the settlement. Many of the settlers also go to different Indian cities during the winter season for their annual sweater and garments selling business for extra income in the family.
The settlement has three kindergarten schools and a main school up to 10th standard. The current population in the settlement is around 5,000. Like in the other Tibetan settlements, the community doesn’t have a public library and a reading habit is almost non-existent.
Helpwithbooks’ second project is happening at Dhondenling Tibetan Settlement. Due to the villages/camps being spread out far and wide at Dhondenling, we thought a cluster of mini-libraries is most suitable and have decided to implement this. Inspired by The little free library movement, our project is to launch a cluster of mini free libraries within the settlement. We believe that this would have a much wider and effective reach to our readers. This would also be a new and fresh concept within the community which might help raise more interest and hopefully attract them into loving books and becoming lifelong readers. As of now, we have built two mini libraries and have installed the first at the community square/market. We have identified a few more spots where the mini libraries will be installed and these would be the community kindergarten schools. This is an endeavor to promote early readership in our children and also make the parents more involved in nurturing future readers.
We are happy to be working in coordination with the Settlement Office on this project our family members living in the settlement serving as volunteers.
We have also rented a small room in the main square to make it into a library and it would be the first self-checkout library in a Tibetan community. It was inaugurated on the auspicious day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 82nd birthday.
We have created our wishlist for the Dhondenling public library in Amazon.in, one can donate books by purchasing from our pre-selected books and Amazon.in will send them directly to the Settlement Office address from where the books will be distributed.