Tuk Tuk Mobile Library - I took books on the Tuk Tuk!

Children in Cambodia have an unnatural thirst for knowledge. If you take the time to do anything with the kids of Cambodia you will instantly be rewarded with attention and a keen desire to participate. Sounds like everyone will attend kindergarten right? Well unfortunately roughly 67% or children do not get the opportunity to go to kindergarten and only a small percentage of them make it to a state funded kindergarten with qualified teachers.

So how do you make improvements in this situation?

Obviously the job is far bigger than our meagre little operation so we decided to do what you do on any great journey and start off with the first step.

Through our experience in working in 6 preschools in Pursat province we have noticed;

  • Some teachers are not qualified kindergarten teachers.
  • Teachers lack any resources to teach with. Things such as art supplies, books and games are not available.
  • Teachers are not always relying on the government curriculum to teach. (Mainly village kindergartens. State run kindergartens now have a strict adherence to the curriculum.)

From what we have seen, teachers have a black board, some chalk and that is about all. We think that we can do something about this. First we looked at a library for a preschool and realised that the cost would be large and without a librarian, it would be difficult to maintain. We then come up with the idea of a mobile library where we rotate the same amount of books through 6 preschools with the following advantages;

  • Books that would originally only cover 1 school can now cover 6 by rotating the books through them.
  • Any books that are damaged can be found and repaired on a monthly basis.
  • Constant feedback on what children do and don’t like can be used to fine tune what we offer.

Finally, we are including a toy library in our mobile library. Not only can the children learn practical skills through play such as how to hold and control a pen or pencil, but they can also learn the basics of problem solving and other cognitive skills. These are very important at an early age and can greatly assist in the future development of the child. This will have all of the benefits included in the book library.

Following on from the mobile book library we also will add games and resources for the teachers. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, we have started to translate the government curriculum and will start to enter lesson plans into the mobile library boxes each month to help the teachers with ideas. Benefits of added lesson plans to the library boxes are;

  • Feedback from a larger group of teachers allows us to adapt to Khmer culture.
  • We will have feedback from 14 different teachers from 6 different communities for ideas to implement. In other words, there is in effect a support network of teachers that can relay their ideas and experience through to the rest of the community.
  • Lessons can be shared and promoted through our website as a free resource with all preschools in Cambodia as it will follow the government curriculum.

We currently have support for 2017-2019 from the Rotary club of Calgary downtown for 6 state run kindergartens and we also supply DDSP, a local organisation in Pursat that work with the disabled with books also. Our DDSP library is funded through our generous donors. Think you can help out with this project? We have varied volunteer opportunities available from virtual volunteer to onsite support. Why not head over to our volunteer section for more information.