Meet Akarshana Sathish, an 11-year-old HPS student on spree of setting up libraries

Despite the fact that Akarshana has been reading since she was three years old, she came up with the idea of establishing a library when she was just nine

Meet Akarshana Sathish, an 11-year-old HPS student on spree of setting up libraries

HYDERABAD: It all began when Akarshana Sathish was a hyperactive three-year-old toddler and her doctor suggested that her parents inculcate reading habit in her and introduce her to books, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Akarshana, who is 11 years old and in seventh grade at Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet, not only has over 1,000 books in her personal library but has established six libraries, all by herself at such a tender age.

Despite the fact that Akarshana has been reading since she was three years old, she came up with the idea of establishing a library when she was just nine. During the COVID-19 phase, she began collecting books from all her neighbours, classmates, and family members.

She felt motivated to collect more and more books since her noble idea had received admiration from her family, friends, and neighbours, who all contributed a large number of books to her collection. She successfully collected 5,800 old books, which she used to set up six libraries in Hyderabad, Telangana, and Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu in the last three years.

Akarshana got the idea for a library when she first visited MNJ cancer hospital during COVID-19 in 2021. She and her parents went to the hospital to provide food to cancer patients, when she got the idea to distribute books to kids who were receiving treatment to divert them from their suffering. She began distributing out a few books to children before deciding to open her own library in response to hospital officials' recommendations.

Her first library, comprising 1,036 books, was established at MNJ Cancer Hospital in 2021. Her HPS teachers attended the inaugural ceremony of her first library and also donated books for her library at MNJ cancer hospital in order to encourage Akarshana to embark on even more libraries.

Her second library, with 825 books, was established at the Sanath Nagar police station, her third at the Kacheguda Juvenile Home for Girls, her fourth at the Gayatri Nagar Association, Borabanda, with 250 books, her fifth at the Coimbatore Street Library, with 200 books, and her sixth at the Nolambur police station, with 1,200 books.

Akarshana, who aims to be a space scientist, has told NewsTAP that she plans to open four more libraries. "I am planning to set up four more libraries," she said, referring to the government school in Sanath Nagar and the Bharosa Centre in Siddipet, which was approved by Addl Director-General of Police, Women Safety, Telangana, Shikha Goel, who came up with the idea for the Bharosa Centre. I also intend to open libraries at Tarnaka Metro station and RTC crossroads bus stand in the near future."

Akarshana, an 11-year-old voracious reader, believes that reading is the best way to expand one's knowledge, vocabulary, and become a strong orator. Akarshana started out with relatively small books—story books, encyclopedias, and so on—in order to pick up reading habits. She eventually began reading non-fiction, fiction, novels, and encyclopedias.

She said, "One can start reading for a few minutes to build this habit, which can be built by reading a few pages every day. My parents, who are also avid readers, have also inspired me to read, as has my school, which features a 100-year-old library."

Apart from reading, Akarshana spends her days cycling, listening to music, practising yoga, debating, and coding. She began learning coding when she was bored at home during COVID-19. Akarshana has completed about 270 coding classes and is now well-versed in a wide range of coding languages, including block coding, HTML, Python, Machine Learning, and many others.

Her father, J. Sathish Kumar, who worked with Former President of India A.P.J Abdul Kalam as the Lead India 2020 Foundation Co-ordinator for Tamilnadu and Kerala, said, "We introduced books to our daughter when she was just 3-years-old when we took her to a doctor complaining about her hyperactive behaviour, and he told us to make her read books. She became more calm and composed after reading books, and she actually began to enjoy reading."

He went on to explain, "Akarshana is the best example of how books can completely change someone's life. Thanks to her reading habits, she is now well versed in a wide range of complex subjects, and it has additionally helped her become a good orator. During the Investiture ceremony, Air Marshall Vivek Ram Chaudhari and Lord Karan Bilimoria praised her oratory talents, when she delivered her speech without any notes. And they congratulated her for taking the honourable step of establishing libraries at such a young age. This effort has received enthusiastic support from her teachers and the entire school management."

You would be surprised to know that Akarshana got her beautiful name from Missile Man of India A.P.J Abdul Kalam. He shared a great bond with Akarshana's family since her father J. Sathish Kumar closely worked for him for many years.

"When he first saw our daughter, the first thing he said was that she was attractive, so she was named Akarshana." He had even blessed my daughter at her naming ceremony. Apart from having a keen interest in space, my daughter has been greatly inspired by Dr. Kalam and aspires to be a space scientist," said J. Sathish Kumar.

Akarshana has received acclaim for her outstanding effort in establishing libraries not only from her school administration and teachers, but also from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, and IT Minister KT Rama Rao.

The girl is looking forward to opening her next library near Tarnaka metro station in August, and her other two libraries would be inaugurated on the occasion of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's birth anniversary on October 15, 2023.

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