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Make a Child Smile

Updated on January 1, 2010

Put a book in the hands of a child in need

Books have the power to transport readers to different worlds, they can time travel, meet imaginary people or become super heroes. They contain a wealth of knowledge. They can inspire greatness and help people escape poverty. Books provide hope and enjoyment.

It's sad then to think some children have little or no access to books as a result of poverty.

"I want to give them an opportunity to find joy, and an opportunity to learn something and what better way of doing that than books; books which they have been deprived of for so long."

One woman, Shivani, saw the need first-hand and decided she had to make a difference. Shivani formerly lived in India but is now living in the United States. She returns to India to visit friends and family about every year.

“The issue which gets to me most is the state of children from poor families, the children in the streets. There are many kids in the streets who will live their lives without ever going to a school or reading a book,” Shivani stated, “I want to give them an opportunity to find joy, and an opportunity to learn something and what better way of doing that than books; books which they have been deprived of for so long."

According to UNICEF, the overall literacy rate in India jumped from 52% in 1991 to 65% in 2001, however, about 20% of children ages six to 14 are still not in school.

Women and girls are much less likely to complete school. In states like Bihar, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, approximately 60% of girls dropped out before completing five years of primary education.

Approximately 90 million females in India are illiterate.

Shivani started “Give Books, Give Smiles” because her heart told her to do it. Currently there are no large sponsors or organizations involved in the project. It's a grassroots effort.

Depending on the number of books Shivani can secure, the donated books will either be taken to India in her luggage or shipped. She is seeking donations of children's books with visual content, vibrant colors and bold illustrations. Books may be used or newly purchased.

According to Shivani, “It's important for us to focus on only those books which don't have to be read in order to be understood.”

Books of this type are not readily available in India and those that are have been imported and are too expensive as a result. The children in need do not have access to a library.

If you do not wish to purchase or donate a book, you can make a financial donation via PayPal to the name Donations will be used to ship books if necessary or to purchase more books from thrift stores.

Spread the word on your website, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc., and tell your friends and family.

If you have any suggestions to aid Shivani's efforts, you can contact her via email.

To read more or to contact Shivani, visit


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