Sunday 29 September 2013

Donkey Mobile Libraries

The Donkey Mobile Library is the brainchild of Ato Yohannes Gebregeorgis and was designed to address the urgent need of supplying books to children in rural areas. Ato Yohannes discovered that donkeys were plentiful in these rural areas and that books were not. Similar in concept to bookmobiles in the United States, Donkey Mobile Libraries run a circuit from school to school and from village to village bringing books to eager children. The first Donkey Mobile Library was put into operation in 2005 and five more have followed with a further commitment of more in the immediate future.

The donkey cart is designed to exacting specifications. It must hold a treasure trove of books, have space to hold stools for seating, and contain a special compartment for food for the donkey. The Donkey Mobile Library is parked underneath a large tree, the thirty or so stools placed in the shade with space for as many as 200 children to sit in the grass or dirt nearby. A trained librarian or library assistant distributes the books to the children and the children take turns reading to themselves or reading to ach other under the guidance of the librarian. When the session is over, the books and stools are packed up and the Donkey Mobile Library is off to the next reading site.

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