The Mobile Library, a pilot project by AIF’s Learning and Migration Program (LAMP), aims to promote reading at home in 30 villages of Kalahandi district in Odisha, during school closures due to Covid-19. Read on, to gain insights into the work of the Mobile Library and learn how important it is, especially in a challenging time like Covid-19, when children from remote and rural areas have very few options to keep them engaged in reading and learning.

Madhuri Naik loves to read and looks forward to going to school. She is in Grade 7 at the government school in Tentulipada village, Kalahandi, Odisha. It is one of the several schools that were closed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Today is a special day for her as she waits for the mobile library to come to her village.

Kalahandi, known for its famines, poverty and hunger, is also one of the source districts for internal migration in India. Delivering books by bicycle, over rough and smooth, past fields and forests, are 15 youth volunteers working tirelessly to cover 30 villages in the quest to reach books to children at home. Every single day, these “mobile librarians” set off with the arduous task of making sure every child has at least one book to read. Schools in these areas are located in communities of people sometimes earning less than $1 a day. Most people have no books at home. They use money to buy food and other necessities for survival. They can’t afford to buy children’s books.

Poverty need not be a barrier to children accessing and enjoying books. Especially in times of school closures, the mobile library gives children the opportunity to continue reading from home, which is now more important than ever to prevent learning loss. The aim of the project is to give children the opportunity to practice reading, solve puzzles, or create colorful drawings and thus, ultimately, to contribute to fighting the global learning crisis and ensure the gains made from the previous decade are not lost.

While education programs in most rural communities around the world came close to a standstill during Covid-19 lockdown, our team helped learning on the go. In the remotest communities which lack paved roads, where a motor vehicle may struggle to get through, LAMP’s team of youth volunteers guided by its partner Lokadrusti, have come up with a “Mobile Library in a Bag on a Bicycle” innovative way of getting books to the hardest-to-reach places. Support for the pilot came from none other than a dynamic group of women: AIF’s Circle of Hope, New England.

Since 2004, AIF’s Learning and Migration Program has helped build the lives of children from migrating communities, making close to 200 villages child-migration free. Since inception, LAMP has impacted close to 584,000 children in 2,279 villages across 13 states of India.

Join AIF in its efforts to rebuild the lives of migrant communities affected by Covid-19. #RebuildingLives  #AIFCovid19Response

As Director of Communications and Advocacy, Rowena Kay Mascarenhas holds the global responsibility for overseeing the development and implementation of AIF’s marketing, communications, and advocacy strategies across the Head Office, Country Office and Regional Offices.

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  1. What a wonderful idea! I am really glad to see that you have realized something vital and are doing something about it. A very large number of students in India do not have access to the internet and online classes. This mobile library project should be duplicated by others. I hope it will be.

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