TUK TUK BOOKS!
A Mobile Library Bringing Books to Children Living in the Middle of Human-Elephant Conflict
In remote villages of SE Asia, subsistence farmers and their children have extremely limited access to books. As steady work continues to turn a history of Human-Elephant Conflict into one of Human-Elephant Coexistence, outreach must also include education and humanitarian efforts to help create a different future for all.
Traveling by tuk-tuk, our 3-wheeled library has waterproof containers filled with books for all ages, and along with fun educational games and a simple checkout system, we reach out to the impoverished families living in critical HEC zones. It was when we first visited the distant village of Sulugone that the idea was borne, upon meeting the children and seeing them playing in front of the tuk tuk:
1. Source books for all ages in their first language, and when appropriate, entry-level English books. For children that may hope to move from their tiny villages, even the most basic English skills can open up countless doors for a better life. Our current focus is on books for children, from non-readers (picture books), all the way up to their final grade, but our hearts are set on having books for adults too.
2. Purchase higher quality, larger plastic containers to store the books. They need good lids to keep out termites/mice/rain, and solid sides to transport the books safely in the open tuk tuk.
3. Funding for petrol and for small solar lights. One of the villages is almost 2 hours away, but it is these distant villages that need access to the mobile library the most. The most rural villagers do not have electricity, and with small solar lights, they can read during the long nights without the cost of candles or the health challenges of kerosene. The more books and petrol we have, the more children we can reach, and the more we can inspire and empower young people living far off the beaten path to create a kinder world for all.