Big Brother Mouse relaxes with a book - just as Khamla sometimes does

Vannaly Vongpaseuth

Helping first her village, then many others

A village library in Laos Vannaly came to Big Brother Mouse by an unusual route. For several years, we helped volunteers in Lao villages set up small libraries and reading rooms. She eagerly volunteered, and had remarkable success. When we visited (in this photo), her check-out book showed 99 entries for the previous month.

She had to move to a distant village because of family responsibilities, and the library didn't continue. (Many of the libraries we helped to establish did continue, but in a majority of cases, without on-going support from us, they did not. There was just no tradition of such things, and while children responded enthusiastically, the number of adults who saw enough value to volunteer was too small, and at this writing, we've decided to put our effort into increasing literacy skills and interest among students.)

Vannaly leading a song at a Big Brother Mouse book party in Laos When she was free to relocate, Vannaly applied to work on the book party team at Big Brother Mouse, and spread a love of reading in hundreds of villages. Then came an even bigger change: Another member of the book party team was a young named Nguak. A few years later, they were married.

Today, Vannaly works in the office, doing much of the behind-the-scenes planning and record-keeping that's needed as we send out teams, often to 20 or 30 schools in a week. Nguak continues to help get books into schools. And there's a third member of the family, who's too young to work, but very much enjoys the picture books that his parents help to produce and distribute.