A non-profit initiative has declared war on the lack of books in Laos. And with success. What started with an idea from a former US publisher has developed into a successful project that spreads education and enjoyment of reading across the country.
Laotians Don’t Read !?
There is a shortage of books in Laos, especially in the local language. In the best case, children only know textbooks, but do not understand why reading can be fun. In addition, it is the key to being able to read, write and write in almost any kind of way. But if you ask the locals why there are no books here, you only get one answer: “Laotians don’t read”.
Sasha also noticed this during his trip to Laos. He is a former publisher from the USA and he quickly developed the idea of founding his own publishing house in Laos. Working alongside him are Khamla, a Laote who loves books, and Siphone, a student with a good knowledge of technology and computers. Together they put Big Brother Mouse on their feet.
The first self-written books are created during their collaboration. They are traditional, traditional bedtime stories from their own childhood. To find a suitable illustrator for their literature, they host a competition at the Children’s Cultural Center. So young Laotians can benefit from their drawing skills.
Big Brother Mouse has been officially licensed as a non-profit organization since 2006 and has its own publishing license. This makes them the only publisher outside the capital.
Joy of Reading
The bookshop in Luang Prabang has now established itself. Not only books in the national language are sold here, but also bilingual, i.e. also in English, at reasonable prices. There are also reading lessons for the children. You will get a book as a gift and after reading it you can exchange it for a new book in the “book box”.
But that’s not all, Big Brother Mouse also visits schools and celebrates “book parties” with the children. Reading should be brought closer to the children. Through group games and lectures they learn playfully access to literature.
A more recent development is the conversation hour. The older children are given the opportunity to improve their English by interacting with visitors to the center. Some of them speak better English than some college students after 2 to 3 years of regular visits to the conversation class.
Big Brother Mouse – A Success Story
Big Brother Mouse’s successful concept has proven itself and developed further. There is now a school called “Big Sister Mouse” that wants to convey the fun of reading. The children learn to read books here, receive English lessons and play board games. Anyone who speaks English and would like to get involved here is very welcome. The visitors get in contact with the local children and help them with their lessons. As a thank you, you will also be taught one or two words in the local language.
But Big Brother Mouse got things moving. They donate books to schools, train teachers, and open reading rooms. They also employ “book ambassadors”. These spread the in-house literature in the country and often came to Big Brother Mouse as children to learn to read.
Big Brother Mouse now publishes over 390 books. The selection ranges from self-help and cookbooks to textbooks to a translation of Anne Frank’s diary. 150,000 children now have their own book in Laos, but there are many more to come.
If you want to donate to Big Brother Mouse, please have a look directly at the website of the project. If you would like to visit the project during your individual trip, please contact your Green Tiger Travel Laos expert. Big Brother Mouse wants to do a lot more and make children enjoy reading. The team is grateful for any kind of support.
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