Spread­ing the word

MAYA MCMANUS, 28, Founder-part­ner of Be­yond Text­books

India Today - - SIMPLY KOLKATA -

“I have learnt more from chil­dren than they

have learnt from me”

En­cour­ag­ing chil­dren to read books when they are bur­dened with cur­ric­u­lar pres­sures or dis­tracted by other recre­ational plea­sures was a chal­lenge Maya Mcmanus took up on a whim. So far, she is pleased with her de­ci­sion be­cause her ini­tia­tive, Be­yond Text­books, founded ear­lier this year, has touched the lives of many school­child­ren. Through a se­ries of work­shops, Mcmanus en­cour­ages chil­dren to read and bring text to life with the help of the­atre us­ing reader re­sponse the­ory. “Read­ing also helps chil­dren to im­bibe val­ues like tol­er­ance and em­pa­thy,” she says.

THE JOUR­NEY While study­ing his­tory of art and ar­chae­ol­ogy at the School of Ori­en­tal and African Stud­ies, Univer­sity of Lon­don, Mcmanus chose to fo­cus on colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture in Kolkata. “I have spent my child­hood here and I have great mem­o­ries of it. Once I came back here, there was no way I was go­ing to live any­where else,” she says. Hav­ing vol­un­teered in city schools and co-an­chored a doc­u­men­tary film on Asi­atic So­ci­ety that was di­rected by Goutam Ghose, Mcmanus says she is for­tu­nate she has never had to try too hard to do what she wanted

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