The Asia Foundation Puts Mobile Libraries in Motion for Local Sri Lankan Communities

Colombo, September 10, 2007 — The Asia Foundation is launching a new mobile library initiative aimed at helping an estimated 80,000 families and children who do not have access to the existing library services in four local authorities. Many of these communities were devastated by the tsunami, and schools and libraries are still in the process of being rebuilt. The mobile library initiative is being launched with support from the AIG Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), and Give2Asia, an organization founded by The Asia Foundation to promote philanthropy to Asia.

The Asia Foundation has retrofitted buses to become mobile libraries, which are stocked with books selected by each local authority, a laptop computer, a multi-media projector, and educational DVDs. Books are available in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages and will be highly useful for school children, university students, and teachers. The mobile libraries will also have textbooks from student reading lists. Stationed at different points, these mobile units will cover the entire geographic area of each participating local authority.

“Through the AIG Disaster Relief fund, AIG and its employees are proud to support this important initiative which brings books and learning to these families and children,” said Ned Cloonan, President of the AIG DRF. “Education is a critical part of rebuilding communities and will help bridge the transition from immediate relief to sustainable recovery in Sri Lanka.”

At a ceremony at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) on September 7, The Asia Foundation Country Representative, Nilan Fernando, and the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils, Honourable Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, presented the mobile libraries to the representatives from the Hambantota Pradeshiya Sabha, Hikkaduwa Pradeshiya Sabha, Kattankudy Urban Council and Thirukkovil Pradeshiya Sabha. The four Local Authorities were selected based on their commitment to increase citizens’ access to library and information services. Each Local Authority has established citizen advisory committees and neighborhood “Reading Circles” to get public feedback about their library services.

The Asia Foundation’s popular Books for Asia Program provided books for the libraries. Books for Asia distributes approximately 100,000 brand new, high-quality text books and children’s books per year in Sri Lanka and is now further widening its reach through the launch of these mobile libraries.

The generosity of AIG and its employees made possible the donation of the mobile libraries to tsunami-affected local authorities, which are still grappling with reconstruction and recovery activities, including the restoration of schools and libraries.

About the American International Group’s Disaster Relief Fund

The AIG Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) is a global charitable organization formed by American International Group, Inc. (AIG), world leaders in insurance and financial services, to encourage a wide range of philanthropic endeavors, including providing assistance to victims of manmade and natural disasters and emergencies around the world. The DRF is funded by generous donations from AIG and its employees, whose contributions are matched by AIG.

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About Give2Asia

Give2Asia facilitates and encourages charitable giving to meet needs in Asia by providing personalized services to donors and recipients. Founded by The Asia Foundation, Give2Asia helps overcome the common challenges that U.S. and Canadian donors face when giving to Asia. With a flexible menu of custom giving options, Give2Asia provides individuals, families, corporations, donor advised funds, and foundations the tools for fulfilling their charitable goals. Give2Asia and its program advisors in Asia make philanthropy convenient, accountable, and tax deductible.

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Related locations: Sri Lanka
Related programs: Books for Asia

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