“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need, said the Roman statesman Cicero. The public library has been called “the delivery room for the birth of ideas,” but in many rural areas of Nepal lack of access to libraries severely limits opportunities for learning and for effective participation in the exchange of ideas that is part of modern life.
The Global Peace Association (GPA) Nepal has been supporting education and literacy in remote areas of Nepal through the establishment of Global Peace Libraries to serve students, families and surrounding communities. Local partnering organizations such as Earth Child Institute, Room to Read, American Library, and Actionaid have provided valuable organizational and logistical support for the projects, while GPA volunteers acquired books and other materials.
In 2010, two libraries were established by GPA Nepal with the support of the Village Development Committee of Chaimale—in Shree Krishna Mavi serving Panchakanya Lower Secondary School and in Dhungeni Secondary School, Bhaktapur. These libraries are now operating by committee and are self sustainable.
In 2011, Global Peace libraries have been established in Hariwon in Sarlahi District; in Patan Devi Secondary School and Shree Tara Secondary School, Gorkha District; and in Shree Bidya Jyoti Secondary School, Kalikot District, with support of the Village Development Committee of Kalikot.
Two more libraries are currently being organized in Bidhya Mandir Secondary School, Majhphal; and Shree Sahid Sukrarat Primary School, Lahara of the Dolpa District. The beneficiaries of these libraries are students as well as surrounding communities.
The libraries in Kalikot and the Dolpa District, located in the Karnali zone, are reportedly the first libraries ever opened in the area. Students, parents and community members welcomed the arrival of the libraries with anticipation and expressed hope that the libraries could help broaden their knowledge of the world beyond their local region.
The Global Peace Library is also a way of promoting peace and social change in Nepal. GPA Nepal is planning to establish more libraries in the remote areas and is organizing character education programs for youth in established libraries.
“The children’s smile was enough compensation for us for our work,” remarked by Mr. Prem Bohara, GPA project coordinator for Bidhya Mandir Global Peace Library.