Why Are We Different?
The Bookfeeding Project is rooted on a model that has been long underestimated. First of all, its action spins around two main values, if we can call them so: Education and Community.
We are convinced that education is one of the main vessels to eradicate chronic poverty, and we believe in the sharing of people’s unique skills and knowledge towards the improvement of a community as their own. We do not only try to build communities in the areas we work locally, but connect those communities into a community of Bookfeeders. When others travel to work in a project it is not to serve or volunteer, but with the aim of building a global community based on mutual and reciprocal learning and understanding. Everybody’s help is welcome, appreciated, needed and wanted.
Our keywords are exchange, self-sustainability and community.
How does it work?
We support communities to establish libraries to be used as educational centers. We help the community to refurbish it with material and second-hand books shipped from collection points around the world. Most important, we do this upon a call from the community — here is a very brief introductory video: vimeo.com/bookfeeding/about
In many rural areas, or at the outskirts of important urban settlements, the presence of a safe venue to deliver classes and educational activities is crucial to promote fair education. Also, in many cases these cannot afford a proper equipment, and we work with the community to provide the facility with tools such as second-hand laptops. The community owns the library, manages it and takes care of it.
Our intervention is limited to the initial support and eventual monitoring of the project. Our projects so far are successfully taking care of the facility and improving it day by day. Their full engagement in the management of the library promotes the development of new skills, and also triggers responsibility for improvement and development of their own community.
Who engages in such a project, and why?
Well, you’d be surprised. It’s the most colourful and diverse bunch of people, who all have one red thread in common. Become Bookfeeders those who love to see a community growing, and in it, themselves. Slowly. Because cooperation is really important, and it is hardest to achieve. It is critical to share your skills and collaborate towards a positive impact on the community: it is really a slow process, but usually the more time it takes, the more effective and long-lasting.
(The Bookfeeding Project is an entirely non-profit initiative. All of our volunteers not only work for free in their spare time, but they also pay for all of their own costs (flights, food, etc.) when building and visiting our libraries. That means that all the funds donated goes exactly to where it should, the communities we strive to help.)
And how was it all started?
The Bookfeeding Project was started by Beatrice in 2011 after she volunteered for AID India, a Tamil Nadu-based NGO whose mission is to empower socially disadvantaged people through socio-economic development programs and education by providing micro credit and training in the areas of health, human rights and investment of resources for income generation.
The Project was born of the belief that a great deal of unused books, old electronic devices (PCs) and unworn clothes would be of better use helping improve the two orphanages currently managed by AID India, and hosting more than 80 kids from age 4 to 18. This belief extended to a focus primarily on unused books, and the ability to improve the literacy of young people in more deprived areas.
In 2014 Alena, a Czech student, after hearing about the idea behind the Bookfeeding Project,created an independent library in Madagascar with the same name. The network of Bookfeeding Projects was born! We are now working on improving the conditions in our existing projects as well as looking for new sites where we can create other libraries. We are also support any other projects with similar ideals by incorporating them into our network.
We would like to stress the fact that the Bookfeeding Project survives solely on private donations.We are a Non-Governmental, Voluntary Organisation which does not receive financial support from any local authorities or religious institutions. We are a group of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-faith individuals, which are united in a drive to help others in need.
Scottish registered charity: SC046248