A diverse and fully stocked library is the goal of any school throughout the world. In Nepal, poor funding for schools can often result in small quantities of aging and damaged books being the only resources a local library can have.
WWEP's Libraries for Schools program pursues underfunded schools and social services facilities that have students who are eager to read and write. Most schools teach both Nepali and English but textbooks can only offer so much in terms of a broad vocabulary of language and ideas.
WWEP provides books for all ages and reading levels to under-served libraries that have a need for expansion. For facilities with no storage infrastructure, WWEP also provides shelving and cataloging assistance for the organizations.
Many schools lock up their books in an effort to preserve the few assets that they own but this will deter students from reading due to the limited access. WWEP encourages new libraries to be open and accessible, even if it entails some loss of damage to books along the way. A "well-loved" book is one that is fully serving its purpose.
Shelves lined with hundreds of books, as seen in this urban bookstore, are a far-off dream for so many schools in Nepal.
Most often, schools will have a small and aging collection of simple books that reside in a dusty corner of one of the rooms.
One of our first major projects was the full construction of a library for the Mitrata Nepal Children's Home in Kathmandu. Within a dark basement room, we built walls of shelving units to accommodate many books to be purchased.
Members of the staff from the Children's Home came with me to the largest bookstore in Kathmandu to survey the selection of books and choose which types would serve the students the best. Photo: Uzwal Gautam
The staff and students of the Children's Home counted, sorted and labeled all of the 300 books that WWEP provided for the library. Photo: Pawan Dahal
After relocating to a new facility, the Mitrata Children's Home was able to move the sturdy shelving units and accommodate the library including extra book purchases from WWEP. Now located in room with better lighting than was available prior, the student's spent more time reading. The home's founder, Nanda Kulu shows off the site of the renewed collection.
With plenty of local man-power available in the villages, constructing library shelving in small schools can be done easily once the wood has been purchased.
This small primary school needed simple books that were within easy reach of the children in attendance. Knowing that accessibility was the key, books were not kept locked away but were instead available at all times.
After decades of neglect from other sources, the residents of this small remote village were so impressed by WWEP's offer to renovate the primary school and provide a library that every resident came out to witness the ground breaking ceremony. Photo: Prem Tamang