Always Reading Caravan Association
Always Reading Caravan (ARC) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental, and non-religious organization, registered as an association, which promotes joy of reading and learning through community library and mobile library services and early childhood literacy to children and adults both with and without disabilities in rural areas of Thailand.
Did you know? • Average literacy rate in Thailand is 92.3%, but the average amount of books a person reads is 3 lines per year. • Generally, Thai people perceive books as tools of study, not as entertainment. • There are at least 1.1 million people with disabilities in the country (1.8% of the total population), and 77% of them live in rural areas. • In Thailand, people with disabilities are either pitied or disgusted, leading to their exclusion from the community.
ARC’s Mission We aim to: • Promote reading for pleasure; • Provide equal reading opportunities for children from various background; and • Encourage children with and without disabilities to mingle with one another to remove the mental barriers between them.
Where Did We Come From? Always Reading Caravan (ARC) is a non-profit organization, registered as an association, founded by Yoshimi Horiuchi, a blind bookaholic from Japan. While she was studying in Bangkok, she visited many villages and disability-related organizations throughout the country and realized that people with or without disabilities have very limited access to information and reading material for many reasons, including the high price of books and lack of libraries in rural areas. With this experience, she started thinking of a way to connect books and people.
Where Are We Now?
Currently, most of our activities take place around Phrao District, Chiangmai, although we have some weekend activities around Bangkok area from time to time.
Projects in the northern area: 1. Rang Mai Library (Phrao District, Chiangmai): We open the library every day, and anyone can become our member to borrow books for free and use our WiFi. We conduct story telling activities for small children every week. We also invite resource persons from outside to conduct various workshop such as art, book repair, reading out loud, etc. 2. Mobile library (Phrao District, Chiangmai): Using Rang Mai Library as our key station, we visit 8 schools and 2 children homes twice a month each. We also visit some individual members with disabilities in villages to deliver books and conduct some fun activities. 3. Early childhood learning centers: We have opened 2 centers for children of age 2 to 6 in villages of hill tribe people. The teacher who lives in the village teaches basic Thai and English as well as simple math. Each centers are located as below:
- Sunshine Kids Center (Siplang Village, Wiang-pa-pao District, Chiangrai): for children from Akha tribe.
- Bumble Bee Centre (Mae Pang Sub District, Phrao District, Chiangmai): for children from Karen tribe.
Projects in the central Area: 1. Weekend mobile library: With the help of volunteers, we visit villages, parks, and other places in and around Bangkok to conduct mobile library activities. 2. Fund raising: We work with international schools and other various organizations/individuals to raise fund for our daily activities both in the north and the central area. 3. PR and work with media
Where Are We Going? Decades from now, we imagine that our mobile libraries will be in small villages all around the country like mobile ice-cream shops. Children and adults can come and select their favorite books just outside their doorstep. Also, ARC will work with each community to set up a small library within the village so that bookworms can keep reading even after ARC moves to another location.
How Can I Join? At this moment, all of our activities are conducted on donations from generous supporters around the world. Any contribution would be greatly appreciated!
Monetary Donation: Account Holder: Yoshimi Horiuchi Bank name: Thai Military Bank Branch: Arkhaan Yada (Yada Building) Silom branch Bank No.: Saving Account 232-204-9202
Books Donation: Please send any type of new or gently-used books (except for textbooks) to the following address:
Ms. Yoshimi Horiuchi Urai Apartment Rm.209, 70 Krungthonburi Rd, Soi 4 Banglamphulang, Khlongsan, Bangkok 10600 Thailand
If you are near Chiang Mai or would like to donate books for children in particular (especially books in Thai or any hill tribe language), please mail them to:
Yoshimi Horiuchi c/o Warm Heart Foundation PO Box 8 T. Wiang, A. Phrao, Chiang Mai 50190, Thailand.
Want to Volunteer? We depend largely on volunteers both in and outside of Thailand. If you are interested, please contact us via email at volunteer@ alwaysreadingcaravan.org or call Yoshimi at (+66) 83- 542-7283 in Thai, English, or Japanese.
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