Always Reading Caravan Association (ARC)

A grassroots project initiated by Yoshimi Horiuchi

Always Reading Caravan Association is a not-for-profit organization
promoting joy of reading and learning through library and literacy
project in rural area, with special attention to marginalized people. We
have a community library and a mobile library truck, and two early
childhood literacy centers for children from hill tribe communities aged
two to six.

Location

Phrao Chiang Mai Thailand

Age Group

All Age Groups

Areas

Non-formal Education

Challenge

I loved reading as far as I can remember, largely thanks to my family
and relatives who read story books to me at home. It opened-up my world
as I grew up as a blind child in a small farm in rural part of Japan.
As I had the chance to come to Thailand and travel around the country, I
have realized that Thai people do not have much access to books and places to
learn to read books. Most of the readers are middle-class-up, white-collar workers who live in cities.
In addition, I discovered that persons with severe disabilities are
often confined at home without access to education, or society at large.

Solution

Always Reading Caravan Association (ARC) opened a community library called Rang Mai Library in 2012.
We offer service where people can borrow books and DVDs free of charge. Currently
we have around 7,000 books and 250 DVDs. We also have free WiFi at our
library. We organize various weekly and monthly activities to encourage
people of all ages to come and use our service.
We also conduct mobile library activities. From 2012 to 2016, we have
been working mainly with schools in the district, delivering books and
conducting various educational activities. As of June 2016, we will switch our focus to
the communities, so that we can provide more quality and regular
services for all, including persons with disabilities, elderly
population, etc.
Since 2012, ARC has been working with hill tribe communities by building
and maintaining two early childhood literacy centers. In these centers, children
age between 2 and 6 learn basic Thai and English literacy and numeracy
in the safe environment. In this way they will have a head-start when they
are integrated into the mainstream public education system.

Impact

Beneficients

As of May 2016, we have 817 registered members at our library who use
our service. The library is run by 3 full-time staff.
In early childhood centers, we have 20 children and 3 staff.
Potentially, we can work with the whole population of Phrao District, which is
about 50,000.

Activities

-Free public library service: Rang Mai Library is open to all population
in the district
-Mobile library service: Haruno, our mobile library truck visits
villages, schools, and individuals
-Early childhood literacy centers: We run 2 centers to teach Thai and
English alphabet to children age between 2 and 6 - Sunshine Kids Center
for Akha tribe children, and - Little Smiles Center for Lisu tribe children.
-Raising awareness: In collaboration with other organization in the
area, we conduct various activities to promote joy of reading for all
ages, including workshop and exhibition

Updates

We are in the process of moving to a new library site. We have an offer to
use a piece of land for free for 9 years, and we will renovate an old house
in the property and this will be our new library. The renovation is expected to
be complete by August 2016.

Contact

Email bookworm@alwaysreadingcaravan.org

Website www.alwaysreadingcaravan.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ARCbookworm
Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/AlwaysReadingCaravan
Blog: www.alwaysreadingcaravan.org/blog/

What does this project need?

  • Human resources needs: Volunteer coordinator: We need a long-term volunteer who can manage our
    volunteer dispatch initiative, Move Lanna.
    Videographer / photographer: We need volunteer who can make short video
    clips as well as quality photos of our activities.
  • Material resources needs: Laptop / desktop PC: We need 2 sets of computers that can be used by
    our staff and library users.
    Furniture: We would love to have furniture made of natural resources,
    such as bamboo and rattan, which can be used in our new library.
  • Financial resources needs: Annual membership: We have 4 types of annual membership system: jasmine
    ($30), lotus ($50), orchid ($100), and sakura ($300).

How can you help this project?

Recent Story

Meeli was 3 year old when she joined our Sunshine Kids Center in 2013. In the beginning, she could not speak a word of Thai as her mother tongue is Akha language, and she was extremely shy. However, after 3 years, she can speak Thai with great pronunciation. She became very confident and now she acts like teacher’s assistant :) We are proud that she can join a public school in town this academic year.

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