Kohima: Almost a fortnight after EastMojo’s report about two brothers Akho Phira (25) and his elder brother Thepfukelie Phira (33), who created a small “community library” in Kigwema village in Nagaland to revive the dying art of reading, the Kohima forest division on Saturday reached out to the duo with a “green box” containing eco-friendly books.

The larger aim of the donation of books is also to create awareness about protecting and conserving the environment.

The “green box” project, an initiative of the Kohima forest division under the department of environment, forest and climate change, was launched in March this year with the hope of creating green libraries across the district.

The box contains 51 books based on environment conservation, wildlife and climate change.

Kohima DFO Rajkumar M handing over the ‘green box’ to Thepfukielie Phira

As reported earlier, the brothers set up the mini library in their village to make books more accessible to the people. Following EastMojo’s report about the duo’s initiative, Kohima Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rajkumar M envisioned extending the project to Kigwema village.

With this, Kigwema village became the fourth village to receive the books under the project. Earlier, three villages from three ranges in the district— Zhadima Village under Chiephobozou range, Jakhama village under Kohima range, and Sendenyu village under Tseminyu range — received the ‘green box’.

Rajkumar, while handing over the box to Thepfukelie in Kigwema on Saturday evening, said: “Through EastMojo, we came to know about the two brothers who themselves created a lending library. So we thought, why not extend the green box project to Kigwema since they are doing an extraordinary job by creating a lending library during these extraordinary times.”

While the initial criterion is to give a ‘green box’ to one village per range within the district, the “selfless” service of the two brothers impressed the team. “Through their help, we may also be able to reach more people,” said Rajkumar further hoping to create an environment conscious society.

Akho Phira (25) and his elder brother Thepfukelie Phira (33) from Kigwema village in Nagaland

“We are expecting children to be our green ambassadors. After reading the books, if the children, who are the future of tomorrow, can spread the message, then we hope for a much bigger change in the environment around us,” Rajkumar told EastMojo.

He shared how knowledge acquired through books will be more effective than conducting awareness campaigns as the message learned through books can be passed on. Further, he informed that the ‘green box’ project is a subset of “Project Future”, an initiative of the Kohima Forest Division which started last year.

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Thepfukelie Phira, in an interaction with EastMojo, said: “So far, the response of the readers has been very encouraging. From children to college going students, people have started utilizing the books on a positive note”.

He informed that the library has a wide collection of books ranging from children books, educational, secular, novels, magazines to daily newspapers. He said that the duo has also received books from outside the state.

While the village has a public library, he said that it has not been utilised to its maximum potential due to some formalities. However, with the “community library” being set up in an outdoor setting without being locked, it has become convenient for the people to access the books and magazines anytime of the day.

With the mini ‘community library’ being set up in an outdoor setting without being locked, it has become convenient for residents to access the books and magazines anytime of the day

Due to space constraints, most books are kept at their home, just below the mini-library, for people to access. Thepfukelie said that after a certain period of time, books that are now placed at the “community library” will also be replaced on a rotational basis with the books that are kept at their home in Kohima.

Although the duo has no immediate plans to expand the library due to financial reasons, with the arrangements in place which makes books accessible to the locals, the brothers hope to see positive change in the reading culture among locals within a few years.



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