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Rural libraries open exciting chapter for children

By Wang Qian and Yang Jun | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-02-26 07:54
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Established in Xingyi, Guizhou province, in 2012, Dashan Xiaoai ("big mountain small love") is a children's charity dedicated to narrowing the regional gap in education and broadening the children's perspective, with various activities, such as movies, book fairs and reading clubs. CHINA DAILY

Charity's initiative in Guizhou builds a vibrant community, and fosters ambition, Wang Qian and Yang Jun report in Guiyang.

Children in one village in the Qianxinan Bouyei and Miao autonomous prefecture, in Guizhou province, have a new place to spend their winter vacation — a library in a karst cave built by a local charity group.

Located in Banwan village and blending in with the surrounding landscape, the library became a must-visit place for tourists during the recent Spring Festival holiday.

"Fostering a culture of reading in a rural community is not an easy thing, because it is not a necessity for residents. This is why the library has an appealing design and a welcoming atmosphere, which helps encourage potential readers," says 32-year-old Zhou Beilei, head of the Dashan Xiaoai ("big mountain small love") charity.

This is the eighth library that the charity has built to help rural residents, especially children, learn. Involved in rural education for more than 10 years, Zhou discovered that rural children, many of whom live with relatives because their parents have migrated to cities to find work, do not have anywhere to spend quality time after school.

She says that taking weekends, school vacations and festival holidays into account, students in Qianxinan spend more than 180 days at home, where most have no parental supervision or access to educational resources like bookstores.

"This is why we decided to build libraries for the children, to offer them high-quality and sustainable activities, and nurture their love for reading," Zhou says.

She adds that in addition to books, the libraries are public spaces and serve a wide range of community needs and purposes. In other words, each is much more than just a repository of books.

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