“Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.”
Reading Elephant Laos was founded in 2016 as a civil society initiative (grassroots project) by a group of young Lao people in Ban Houayxay, Bokeo Province, and is now officially registered as a non-profit “Private Reading House” (under the Lao Law on Libraries) and operating as a non-profit children’s mobile library.
From the beginning, the group led by Khamkeo Vongsavanh has aimed to promote reading and access to literature among children and young people in their home province. Four team members work full-time, others on an hourly basis or as volunteers or interns at Reading Elephant Laos. Several of them have completed training as school teachers for various subjects (Lao language, mathematics, English).
From initial experiences with events in village schools, the concept of “book festivals”, all-day reading events held in primary schools in the catchment area, was developed. Book festivals continue to be the highlights of the school year. Gradually, however, a regular driving service with monthly stops of the bookmobiles in the schools is introduced. In addition, the team in Ban Houayxay drives the small electric bookmobile to residential areas and to markets in the city in the afternoons and during non-school hours, wherever children have no leisure activities.
Reading Elephant Laos‘ after-school education program has been evaluated by the local education authority and found to be an enriching method to increase motivation for learning. The Houayxay District Education and Sports Office has given approval for the implementation of the educational policy activities in the primary schools under its jurisdiction.
Reading Elephant Laos, as a non-profit Children’s Mobile Library with the support of the German association Books for Laos e. V., is involved in promoting reading as an exercise of the right to education by children in Laos. In doing so, we are guided by Goal No. 4 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure inclusive, equitable and high-quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. We are also committed to the United Nations human rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Children are at risk in many countries around the world. In Laos they make up the majority of the population. Poverty or weak educational structures increase the risk of disadvantage and discrimination and limit their ability to enjoy basic rights. We advocate strengthening children’s rights, ensuring their participation, and protecting them from possible dangers.
Children are our target group and thus recipients of the impacts of our work. Our Child Protection Policy contains principles and rules for individual and institutional behavior. As part of cooperation with our partners, we jointly commit ourselves to respecting and implementing these principles.
At Reading Elephant Laos, there are currently no volunteer opportunities for foreign visitors.
Books for Laos e. V. is a non-profit, non-religious, and politically independent association recognised as a non-profit organisation in Germany. Its stated objective is primarily to support Reading Elephant Laos in providing underprivileged children and adolescents in remote rural districts of Laos with access to books, and thereby with enduring access to educational resources in order to increase their literacy and learning skills. Books for Laos e. V. is not active in Laos, but rather supports Reading Elephant Laos in its efforts by means of donations and counsel. Books for Laos e. V. is the editor of this website.
We would like to thank all permanent and individual donors – especially Books for Laos e. V. – who have supported us financially from the beginning until today.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Stiftung Nord-Süd-Brücken (North-South Bridges Foundation), from Berlin, Germany whose funding in 2018 and 2021/22 has made possible the opening and operation of the reading house in Ban Houayxay, the purchase of books and basic equipment as well as the new bookmobile and the introduction of regular driving operations.
From 2019 to 2020 and 2022/23, the Georg Kraus Stiftung in Hagen, Germany also supported us by making a significant contribution to the project phase “Planning and trial operation for the use of a bookmobile for children in Laos”. In this way, it made possible in particular the purchase of a first used pickup truck as well as the small electric vehicle for the trial phase in the area-wide operation of the catchment area.
We would also like to thank the German Embassy in Vientiane, which has granted Reading Elephant Laos material resources from its micro-project fund in 2019 and 2022 to finance additional reading and school books for the mobile library, as well as working materials and furnishings to expand the services offered in the reading house and to set up computer learning stations. Ambassador Jens Lütkenherm (second from left) personally visited the reading house in Ban Houayxay in May 2019 and got an idea of our joint project through on-site discussions.
Reading Elephant Laos
c/o Khamkeo Vongsavanh
Khunjing Road, Ban Moungkhounsin, Houayxay District, Bokeo Province, Lao P. D. R.
Tel: +856 (0) 20 59515550; Reading Room: +856 (0) 20 95015440
For any queries you may have concerning Reading Elephant Laos project, please contact us by email.