Tag Archives: ‘Donkey Library’

Adventures with a Donkey in Ethiopia

Written by Rory

It’s 2pm in the heat of the Gondar afternoon and I’m following the happiest donkey in Ethiopia. Happy because he’s spreading the joy of reading in for Ethiopian students without libraries … and because carrying his load of books, rather than bags of cement or teff (a grain used to make injera, Ethiopia’s stable bread) that are the usual fair of his fellows, is a cushy number.


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I am at Bahire Ginb school near Maksegnit, a small village between Gondar and Bahir Dar, to see one of our donkey libraries. Link Ethiopia has three donkey libraries – two in Gondar and one in Bishoftu. Each donkey visits five rural schools who do not have a library, one a day over a week. Via our donkeys, children can access books which are usually scarce at home and at school; they are able to read reference and textbooks to support their lessons but also to read fiction in Amharic and Oromo. These free reading sessions, as well as group stories, can be a gateway for students into the world opened by reading – reading for pleasure, reading for reading’s sake.


Donkey libraries are a great service for rural schools without libraries. Teachers and students are always excited when the donkey library arrives and more and more schools request to be included. There are thousands of students who do not have access to books beyond their school textbook. For that reason, Link is seeking to increase the number of donkey libraries from 3 to 4, which would allow us to serve an additional 1000 students in rural schools. Click here if you’d like to help and support us to bring the Donkey and his books to so many more children.

At Bahire Gunb, a group of students are sitting in a circle around Belete, our donkey librarian. He is reading from a book of Ethiopian folktales and the class follow along from their own copies. Stage left, our mobile library sits in the shade of a tree job done for another day.


Posted in 2016, Fundraising, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Dunky’s Library Mission: Mike’s First Impression (Part Two)

Written by Mike

(Read Part One Here)

In the towns and cities, building a library is definitely feasible. However, Link works with schools all over the country, some that can’t even be reached without a 4×4 because they’re so rural. Getting building materials to these schools can prove too tricky, and even getting books to reach them can be difficult. I’ve witnessed that kids from the rural areas tend to struggle more with basic English, especially with reading and writing things that they might have never come across before. So what can we do to try and reach as many kids as possible, to open their minds to the wonder of fiction and creativity?

mike's pictures Dunky 1

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Well, that’s where “Dunky” comes in. This project was first put into place by the Gondar office a few years ago, and now the crew down here in Bishoftu have managed to set up their very own “donkey library.” What on this fruitful earth is a “donkey library”, I hear you splutter with joy and excitement! Well, the donkey library is a project that’s been set up to try and get books to schools in the rural areas, and to get kids reading from an early age. We’ve managed to secure a donkey, called Duncan, who will be travelling around with a trained librarian to deliver crates and paniers and boxes of books to the schools that can’t be so easily reached. This week saw “Dunky” Ferguson’s debut mission, which looks like it was fun (for the people at least). I can’t talk for Dunky, partly because I haven’t met him yet and partly because he’s not sporting the happiest of faces in these pictures. But I’m sure he’ll come to realise that what he’s doing is helping towards a great cause, and with little sacrifice comes great reward, so stick on in there donkey, my son!

Over the next year, Dunky, and possibly some new friends, will be travelling and delivering books for all ages to pupils and schools in the rural areas of the country, with the aim being to reach as many kids as possible starting with those in places such as Denkaka and Ude. By promoting reading to the children in these schools, we hope to show the benefits of reading to those who can’t quite see it yet. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years’ time they’ll be picking up a book without questioning it not just to study, but to learn from and enjoy!

I think I’ve rambled enough. But before I go, I do just want to point out that we were given some huge golden Crimbo tinsel and some hats to decorate the office with just before Christmas, by a chap working for Pelican Post. They’re a company who’s been donating books to libraries and classes here, one of which we’re teaching with at the minute. Anyway, the point is that I got all excited to show my fellow volunteer our Crimbo decorations when she got home, but I noticed that the tinsel had been pilfered. “Which one of them took that?” we pondered to ourselves cluelessly before Dawit sent me these pictures:

mike's pictures dunky 2

mike's pictures dunky 3

mike's picture dunky 4

Classic Dunky! Neigh! Ee-aw! Whatever the sound is! Peace out!



Posted in 2014, 2015, Libraries, books and literacy, Projects, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tagged ,