Sanidhya Barara, a sixteen-year-old boy from Sector 12 Dwarka, has started an initiative called "The Bookshelf", in which he works diligently to create a book-friendly environment within the community, particularly for underprivileged children.
Sanidhya launched "The Bookshelf" in July 2022 as an online platform. Reflecting on his childhood, he shares, "From a young age, I developed a deep love for reading, beyond what was required for academics. During visits to the park with my grandfather, I would interact with kids from underprivileged backgrounds. Sharing stories and intriguing facts with them became my favorite pastime. These interactions sparked their curiosity about books and inspired them to pursue education. Over time, this idea grew within me, and I resolved to continue my efforts for those children, leading to the inception of 'The Bookshelf.'
With The Bookshelf, Sanidhya has collected and distributed over a thousand books in various NGO, children's homes, and orphanages in New Delhi, providing them with books and enlightening them about the invaluable role books can play in their lives. In order to fuel The Bookshelf, he has also put a lot of effort into collecting the books for his endeavor; from asking his friends and family to donate, to organizing book collection camps at schools and societies.
The realization of the significance of reaching out to underprivileged children dawned on Sanidhya during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the power of online connectivity in assisting communities, he utilized his skills and knowledge to create a website for his cause. Seeking volunteers, he leveraged various social media platforms and successfully gathered support. He explains, "While I couldn't physically visit different locations to distribute books, I decided to find like-minded individuals in their respective localities who could carry out similar work. This approach led to our success and we organised online internship in various states across India, lighting up the lives of children who didn't have access to books with the help of The Bookshelf's ambassadors."
Sanidhya's passion for books is not the only aspect that sets him apart. With his passion for coding and keen interest in sustainable development, he has collaborated with Xynteo, a pioneer company in the field. For their initiative "Waste No More", he has developed an app by the same name which enables Xynteo to track their activities, contributing to their goal of achieving zero waste. In addition, Sanidhya conducted a survey among friends, family, and community members to assess awareness of individual carbon footprints and their contributing factors. The survey revealed a lack of awareness among both children and adults regarding the subject and the inadvertent harm they are causing to the climate. Currently working with a professor from Arizona State University, Sanidhya researches valuable lessons about sustainability from ancient Indian practices, literature, and civilizations, aiming to incorporate these insights into daily life. He strives to raise community awareness about the importance of sustainable principles and hopes to integrate these practices into our routines.
Currently a twelfth-grade student at Modern School Barakhambha, Sanidhya has dedicated the past year to his unwavering commitment of spreading the joy of reading among underprivileged children. He not only is a voracious reader but has also authored a book titled "Yours Truly," a collection of poems he wrote during his high-school years. Aspiring to follow in the footsteps of his father and elder brother, both engineers, Sanidhya intends to pursue his passion for technology by studying Computer Science.
He actively engages with the community, and urging individuals to donate books, he fervently appeals, "It's the small steps that lead to big changes. A small step like sharing your books which you no longer require can bring a big smile to a child's face. Please do share your books with us, and together we can make someone's world a little better."