READ Global Blog - The Library Log: On Proverty and Education in Rural Asia

Published: Wednesday, 30 November -0001

READ Center in Bhutan

Five years ago, READ opened the first rural public lending library in the entire country of Bhutan.

This first READ Center was built in Ura, a small village in central Bhutan, with the hopes of seeding a much larger movement to provide rural villagers with access to critical education and opportunities across the country.

While tourists are often drawn to the solitude of Bhutan’s Himalayan Mountains and the concept of Gross National Happiness, the rural communities living there often struggle with poverty and are isolated from educational resources and economic opportunities.

The Ura READ Center was the first of its kind in rural Bhutan, providing villagers with books, computers, and critical trainings on livelihood opportunities and women’s empowerment. Since then, READ Bhutan has established four more READ Centers, providing educational access to over 34,500 villagers across the country and establishing a public library network in this small country.

Bhutanese Man at Computer

Last December, to celebrate five years of bringing community libraries to rural Bhutan, READ inaugurated the Punakha READ Center, its fifth Center in Bhutan. Hundreds of villagers came to celebrate. The inauguration was filled with community speeches and traditional dances, but also with locals peeking at the Center’s library, opening books, and turning on a computer for the first time.

Congratulations to READ Bhutan!

Punakha Center Inauguration

Click here to learn more about our work in Bhutan.