Mobile Libraries 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 we work steadily 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.

Although we built a bricks-and-mortar library in Cambodia (you can read about it on our “Elephants Can’t Read” page), in some areas of HEC that is not possible. 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. 

There are over a dozen far-flung villages in this area that need access to books, and with additional funding, we could also supply writing and art materials,  kerosene or candles for the homes that lack electricity (and thus lack light for reading), and books for their parents as well.
Without books available to the rural communities scattered throughout the mountainous jungle, how can we ask children to envision a life different from farming inside elephant lands if they have no examples of what that different life might be?  How can we expect impoverished families to be lifted out of poverty if they have never seen or been exposed to different ways of thinking, of learning, of dreaming?  Education is key, and especially in areas like these that have no access to the internet, books are the doorway to a kind and compassionate future for all.
This is a brand new project, and we would be so grateful for your support! There are many villages in need of Tuk Tuk Books, and not just in Sri Lanka but in Myanmar and Cambodia as well. With your help, we could:

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 and carry 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.  Additionally, giving each household waterproof containers that could keep the books safe from the elements would extend the life of the supplies, saving money in the long run.  Families rarely live in “closed houses”, instead houses are open to the weather and to rodents that think books make great nesting material.

3. Funding for petrol and for small solar lights.  One of the villages we long to serve 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.

One of the best ways to change the future for elephants and people in areas riddled with Human-Elephant conflict is to increase creative options for the children, bringing compassion and sustainable support to help them, and their teachers, create a future of coexistence.
For many villagers (especially women and children), the only transportation they have is their feet, so when a tuk tuk pulls up with books to discover other worlds, it’s a very special, and important, thing.
When the tuk tuk pulls up to a house, the nearby children appear as if by magic. And to us, books ARE magic, and we believe in the power of that magic to inspire change in the most distant villages.
For many villagers (especially women and children), the only transportation they have is their feet, so when a tuk tuk pulls up with books to discover other worlds, it’s a very special, and important, thing.
School supplies, library books, art materials–kids want to learn how to save what they love, and given half a chance, they will create a positive future for themselves, their villages, and the elephants that live among them.
 Thank you for helping Tuk Tuk Books get into the hands and hearts of children living in Human-Elephant Conflict areas!

*** We’re sad to say that this project is not currently running, and as such we are not receiving donations for books at this time. We will get Tuk Tuk Books moving forward again when pandemic regulations in schools and small villages allow safe access for all.  Thank you for all of your support in the past, and here’s to hoping and planning for a positive future!