Motorbike Book Club
Supporting disadvantaged children living in rural Hue, Vietnam with a mobile library to grow into passionate life-long learners.International
Motorbike Book Club (M.B.C.) was founded in 2016 in New Zealand by two Kiwi sisters in partnership with Hearts for Hue (H4H), an award-winning local charity. The goal of M.B.C. is to support disadvantaged children living in rural Hue, Vietnam to grow as passionate life-long learners outside of the classroom. How? By providing a mobile library service every weekend. Two communities are currently involved in M.B.C., reaching over 50 children. The communities were identified in partnership with H4H and local village leaders. Only children and parents who want to participate, do.
Why M.B.C.? Vietnam is vibrant, diverse country with a population of 91.7 million and 54 ethnic minorities. Having emerged from decades of conflict, Vietnam is considered a global success story in development. But in isolated rural communities, children are disproportionately excluded and under-served in terms of access to quality education or learning materials. There are no community-organised recreational activities for children to stay motivated to learn outside of school hours, and few if any own books of their own. This has flow-on effects to employment opportunities and personal development.
M.B.C. works in Thuy Phu and Vy Da villages. In both, most adults are employed, but jobs are unstable and seasonal. The main industries of employment in this area are fishing, sand processing and hired unskilled labour. Selling rice, making hats, cutting hair or working in garment factories or grocery stories are typical jobs. All of these jobs earn a low income: around $200 NZD per month. In addition, the village is prone to flooding which causes a lot of damage to their livelihoods and homes every year. In both villages, almost none of the adults completed high school, and only half can read and write. Of the children live in the area, and one-third have underdeveloped reading and writing skills compared to the average for their age. Other than lack of access to reading materials, the community also faces a lack of secure jobs, lack of sanitation, and a lack of space and housing on land.
M.B.C. works in communities in four ways.
1. Book Club Sessions
Every weekend, hour-long Book Club Sessions are run in each village using a selection of books and games from our library, which has grown to over 700 books! One or two books are read aloud in a group, and fun comprehension activities are run to get kids working together. Then the kids get to choose a book or five of their own to borrow for a week and share with their families. Having fun is key to learning. The kids play games at the end of each session, such as puzzles, football and tug-o-war.
2. Learning Events
Take children on a field trip to the local book store. We have have done this twice, and it has proven to be very special for the children involved. As well as providing a fun outing, M.B.C. also gives each child a small allowance so they can buy a book of their choice, rather than have to wait each weekend to borrow one. We want to take the kids from each village on another visit this year.
3. Supporting Teens
M.B.C. supports older children to finish high school. Often at around age 14, children in Thuy Phu and Vy Da either work in the fishing industry with their parents or travel far away to Ho Chi Minh City and live and work in a factory. By gifting them basic school supplies or paying for school fees, M.B.C. can support these children to complete their education. We want to support these children again this year where needed. M.B.C. also supports high school graduates in vocational training courses like sewing to secure good jobs close to home.
4. Life Skills Training
M.B.C. uses an award-winning sport for development programme, which uses sport and life skills education to develop leadership and transform the lives of adolescent girls. The program is primarily designed for girls aged 12-18, and covers four key life skills: communication, health and hygiene, rights and financial literacy.
Building on the existing education system offered by the Government and other development partners, this project provides an opportunity for the targeted beneficiaries to access educational materials at flexible times through a mobile library of engaging, bilingual childrens’ picture books and comprehension activities. In the long-term, all children who participate in M.B.C. should be performing more highly in the formal school system. Beyond improving literacy rates, however, M.B.C aims to fosters a love of reading, creative skills and bonds between parents or caregivers and their children.
We measure our success in a number of ways: the number of children who attended sessions, and the number of books borrowed. From March 2018 to March 2, M.B.C. facilitated 91 interactive reading sessions using the mobile library. Any sessions missed was only due to adverse weather conditions or traditional community holidays. Over all these sessions, there were 1,589 visits and 3,756 books borrowed. In Thuy Phu, the average attendance per week is 18 with a maximum of 27 and in Vy Da, the average is 12 with a maximum of 23. There has been a slight increase in the average number of books borrowed from 10 when we started, to 36 per session now. These results indicate that children attending the book club feel comfortable engaging with reading materials, and are accessing these materials regularly.
With Tamra Ewing, I am the co-founder and co-director of this registered charitable trust.
Use of funds
100% of funds will go to supporting M.B.C, e.g. covering petrol, books, motorbike maintenance, and a small salary for our facilitators in Vietnam. This will support Book Club Sessions, Learning Events, Supporting Teens, and Life Skills Training activities.
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This page was created on 15 Sep 2019 and closes on 15 Sep 2020.