Action Education (AE), an international NGO formerly known as Aide et Action, and its partners have established a library for the children and adults of the communities of the Tonle Sap Lake’s seasonal floodplains in Battambang province.

The facility, located at Ek Phnom district’s Koh Chivaing Primary School, is part of the NGO’s efforts to promote literacy and build a culture of reading among girls and boys, as well as adults.

Vorn Samphors, country director of Action Education, told The Post on September 25 that the library houses hundreds of titles, as well as an internet connection, smart TVs, fans and a water filter.

“We hope the library will contribute to the promotion of study activities and other skills such as self-care and health awareness. The smart TVs will be used to support storytelling activities and knowledge related to applied science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) skills. The digital library will also serve as a resource which teachers can use to research pedagogy and professional guidance,” he said.

Nuon Vuthy, principal of Koh Chivaing Primary School, explained that despite a school roll of more than 300 students, the schools limited resources meant it had previously had only a few books. They were rotated between classes to allow the students to read.

He explained that this changed when the NGO and its partners organised a mobile library vessel, which visited the school two or three times a week.

“My school is in a flooded area and there are not many resources. When the boat library began visiting us, it was a huge help, but the permanent library we have now is even better,” he said.

Vuthy explained that the children love to read, and are especially attracted by the kinds of books the library houses.

“We had a room available, so we set up a library. Many of the children spend their break times reading there. Because our school is flooded during the rainy season, we have no school grounds to speak of, so it can be dangerous for the students to play outside. With this library, they do not play much and have started reading books instead,” he added.

According to Action Education, the school library project currently supports more than 10 libraries around the Tonle Sap Lake area. The organisation supports nine mobile tuk-tuk libraries and one boat library.