Establishing libraries in rural India – Gyan-Key initiative

Gyan-Key_02-300x300“India lies in its villages,” believes Pradeep Lokhande, founder of rural relations, a social entrepreneurial venture.

One of the foremost social initiatives launched by rural relations is the Gyan-Key project, which establishes libraries in Indian villages, aiming at improving the mental development of children in Indian villages by encouraging and motivating these children to develop reading habits. He explains the rationale behind the name of the initiative, “Gyan” means knowledge. We are giving you the key to knowledge – now it is your job to unlock it.”

Pradeep ji opines on the need to provide access to libraries in rural India, “My daughter gets all the books on her table or she can buy any book anytime. However, her counterpart in a small village, where there are only 350 households, does not have access to all these books. They cannot afford it.” He adds, “‘Wings of Fire’ by APJ Abdul Kalam costs 350 rupees. A boy or girl in a village cannot afford to buy “Wings of Fire” in a local language. We have identified around 180 such books that are not part of the academic curriculum. We ensure minimum one book for every subject”

With a donation of Rs 5000, one can help establish a Gyan-Key library in a village school. It is mandatory that the donation be made in the name of a woman. Pradeep ji shares, “Generally when we give a donation it is always in the name of a male. We have established a policy that the donation must be made in the name of a woman.” Additionally, Pradeep ji shares how Gyan-Key encourages girls in the villages to take initiative, “We appoint a girl student as a monitor of this library in each village school. A Gyan-Key monitor manages the library and keeps a record and register of the books in her library. We want to encourage the girl-child.” This is being done to help establish a communication link and bond between the urban woman making such donation, and the rural girl receiving such a benefit. Effectively, this establishes a mentor-mentee relationship.

Gyan-Key_01-300x300Gyan-Key has a wonderful system of communicating feedback of the programme. Each book comes with a postcard and the students are encouraged to write to the donors and rural relations and share their experience and thoughts on the book. Emphasising the importance of feedback, Pradeep ji says, “Across the country there is good work being done but we don’t do follow up and receive feedback. Most of the time we fail on that and the entire project collapses. We do very rigorous follow-up and get feedback from the kids, parents and teachers. Through 1000 libraries, we have reached 3 lakh students in 1000 villages. Of that, 49,000 students write back to us with their comments on the books. This is the biggest success story.”

Pradeep ji shares his future vision of Gyan-Key, “Ultimately we want to reach 5,800 libraries in Maharashtra and 85,000 libraries in India. This is an ambitious project. We have initiated the project in Maharashtra to understand the teething problems. We are next going to launch Gyan-Key in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh and slowly take it to all states of the country.”

Pradeep Ji has personally travelled to over 5,000 villages in the past two decades and rural relations has so far connected with 3.5 lakh villages in India. Apart from building a databank of key information of each village, rural relations have also launched several other social initiatives. These include the Non Resident Villager Movement – an effort to encourage Indians to give back to their roots; and Rural Champion – identifying and recognising individuals who are wholeheartedly working for development of their villages.

An indicator of the popularity of Pradeep ji and his initiative is that he receives thousands of postcards from the interiors of India every day. Interestingly, these postcards are addressed to him just by name and his pin code and they unerringly find their way to him.

Pradeep Lokhande’s life mission is to work for the development of Indian villages. He has a keen insight and understanding of India, its villages, its people and their struggles. In an age of isolationism, he is a lone warrior who has undertaken the mammoth task to connect, understand and reach out to rural India. At WEBO Power, we applaud the courage, spirit and passion of this exemplary Indian.

If you would like to contribute to the Gyan-Key initiative, please contact rural relations at:

rural relations
7-Silver Heights,
Opp. Kedari Gardens,

Contact Numbers:
+91 9823244150
+91 9823014150

Posted By: Supriya Mathur, Team WEBO Power
Posted On: April 26, 2013

Tags: , , , , ,

12 Comments on “Establishing libraries in rural India – Gyan-Key initiative”

  1. Avtar sran #

    Respected sir/mam,
    My village is on border of punjab and rajsthan. It is educationally very backward village . There is no library in our nearby area of 20km. Nearly half of the population of the village is economically weak . So they cant arrange books by themselves. There will be big help for them . We will be very thankful if u can arrange some ngos to build a library in our village.
    V.p.o. rampura Narain Pura, tehsil – abohar , distt – fazilka. Punjab

    October 12, 2017 at 7:47 am Reply
  2. Vipin.m #

    We need a library in our village here I am staying in a sc colony obviously
    Iam also a sc catogery student that’s why we want a library in our village

    March 27, 2017 at 9:54 pm Reply
  3. I have a dream to establish a library in our village so need your cardialy help.
    Vill.+ P.O.-dhabani, Dist-Purulia.W.B.723130,

    February 15, 2017 at 11:02 pm Reply
  4. Balvinder singh #

    I request to you library EStablish in my village

    vp o guhna disst kaithal haryana

    January 28, 2017 at 8:09 am Reply
  5. Sanjay Chavan #

    Gyan-Key is working miraculously.The students from villages are getting nice books.Thank you so much and all the best Honorable Lokhande Sir.

    April 22, 2015 at 6:19 am Reply
  6. B .R.Pawar #

    sir our school special thanks to you for providing us school library through gyaan key

    April 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm Reply
  7. B .R.Pawar #

    our best wishes with you sir

    April 16, 2015 at 12:38 pm Reply
  8. B .R.Pawar #

    our best wishes with you Lokhande sir

    April 16, 2015 at 12:37 pm Reply
  9. deepmala nigam #

    very good for thinking ,books and girl child development specially in villages

    August 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm Reply
  10. prakash badadare #

    very good luck to your project.

    August 2, 2014 at 4:04 pm Reply
  11. Abhay Mulay #

    Excellent. Will get in touch.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm Reply
  12. Abhay Mulay #

    Excellent. I’ll get in touch.

    April 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm Reply

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