Moving books to far places
Rogers is the founder of a mobile bike library in rural Uganda. Below, he tells us why he started it, and what impact it’s had in his community.
My name is Rogers and I was born in a village where there were no books. It meant learning was always a big challenge. As I grew up, it became my dream to support children’s education.
I dreamed of setting up a resource centre in my community, and with support from Book Aid International, in 2014 my dream came true. I received four boxes of books and set up the Marko Lukooya Memorial Community Library. It had no walls or shelves. But as we gathered under a tree next to our local church and I began lending books to people from those boxes, I knew something very special had begun.
Ever since that day, our library has grown and grown. People of all ages now come to us to borrow school books, vocational books and story books. We have over 5,000 titles in the library – and we have created a culture of reading in our community. It has made a huge impact.
But I also knew many people from faraway rural villages were never able to visit us. The distances were just too great, so they were missing out on all the opportunities to be found in the pages of books. That’s why I set up the mountain bike library.
We have youth volunteers who travel with mountain bikes with books on their backs in bags and they deliver the books to people who cannot access the library easily.
Normally, they visit homes every week or two and they pick the books that they took previously , so, it’s more of an exchange – this helps as families get new books in every week if they have finished the last ones
Thanks to our mountain bike library, I’ve seen how books give people power. I’ve seen people read books about agriculture and start growing enough food to sell for the very first time. I’ve spoken to teachers whose students used to hate reading, but now their pupils are passionate about their studies because they have new books to read. And the more they read, the more they have the potential to pass their exams.
Without books in their lives, children’s potential is held back from the start.
But so many people worldwide are still unable to ever access books. Their opportunities are limited forever, only because of where they live. People like me will stop at nothing to help more people read and learn. But we can only do it if you help Book Aid International send more books.
Images © Book Aid International/ Jjumba Martin
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