Providing Reading Opportunities to Children in Rural Villages
Laos is still a rural community with many people engaged in subsistence farming. People are poor. Books are an unaffordable luxury. In many villages in Laos there are no books. Even in the school – if there is a school.
The Luang Prabang Public Library supports libraries and reading promotion in many surrounding villages. On the library wall are a number of "book bags", each of which has slots to put books into. People are encouraged to come and buy a Lao book which is on a stand next to the book bag, and then place it in one of the slots in the bag.
When there are 100 books in a book bag, it is taken out and distributed to village schools where both the children and the adults of the village have access to them.
The library, in cooperation with Cooperative Learning International operates the Lao Children’s Library Boats. These boats travel on the Mekong and Ou Rivers and bring books to children living in villages along the rivers.
The aim of the Book Tuk-Tuk is to visit schools in the area surrounding Luang Prabang with books, learning activities and games. The Book Tuk-Tuk will contain books for ages 3-18.
When the Book Tuk-Tuk goes to a school, three librarians will go with it and they will take a full book-bag of 100 books, which will be lent to the students for a period of 2-6 weeks so they have a continual supply of new books to read.
The librarians will spend the day with the children conducting fun reading games, teaching them how to respect books, teaching singing games etc. They will also play games with the students which teach teamwork, coordination, group involvement and other skills - all conveyed through play. Hygiene promotion through songs, stories and drama will have long-term positive outcomes for students’ health. If time allows, writing skills will be worked on, with story and poetry competitions. By involving the local teacher in these activities as well, they will educate the local teacher on how to run these kinds of activities in their classrooms in the future.
The children will also be given either a health bag containing soap, toothbrush and other personal items or a learning bag with exercise books and pencils - this will depend on the villages where the schools are located and their access to exercise books, pencils, soap etc.
Anyone can go to the to the library and purchase books for the book bags. They're not expensive - about US$ 2 for each book.
If you want to donate the cost of a complete book bag and its full complement of books, we can also arrange for you to join the Book Tuk-Tuk on a visit to a village. Please let us know well in advance so arrangements can be made.