Mobile Elephant Librairies


Reading is not common practise amongst the local people of Laos. Illiteracy is high among rural communities, whilst resources remain scarce and when available are often uninspiring. Working in partnership with non-governmental organisation Community Learning International, The Elephant Conservation Center promotes literacy within schools in rural Sayaboury and Oudomxay provinces in northern Laos. Amidst a sea of small awe-filled faces, an extended trunk presents each child with a storybook. The gift of knowledge is reciprocated by tiny hands offering the elephant pieces of sugarcane, bananas and bamboo leaves, followed swiftly by a gracious Buddhist ‘nop’, the traditional greeting and way of giving thanks here as hands are clasped together in front of body accompanied with a slight bowing of the head.

On receipt of their books, many of the children attentively read each page in the location they stand, whilst others simply clutch the book to their chest as a prized possession, which in most cases it is, the book being the first item the child has ever owned. Welcome to our Elephant Mobile Libraries project!

Awareness & Education

Outreach environmental education for children and Awareness raising campaigns


Working with partners Community Learning International, we take an innovative approach to encourage literacy within schoolchildren of Laos distributing books and resources in Lao script using retired logging elephants.

Capable of carrying up to 150kg, this amounts to a lot of books and delivery with elephants has dual purpose. Agile, elephants are able to traverse remote areas where roads and access routes are nonexistent allowing our Elephant Mobile Libraries to reach those schools most in need, whilst interaction with the elephants increases knowledge of the endangered species and understanding of elephant behaviour amongst both young people and local communities, this being particularly beneficial in areas experiencing human-elephant conflict.

We conducted our first Elephant Mobile Library mission in 2010 in Sayaboury province and have since visited many rural schools across several districts within the province. With each school visit, our team implements a host of environmental based activities, including games and sing-a-songs. Each event inevitably becomes a very public affair as whole communities come to join in the fun.

A static version of this project, Kids in Conservation, has also been developed. Located at the Elephant Conservation Center, we invite children from neighbouring schools surrounding Sayaboury town to visit the home of the elephants and enjoy a whole host of environment-based activities.

library3ECC ‘Mobile Elephant Libraries’ programme is organised in collaboration with the District Education Department of Sayaboury. Activities are sponsored by ECC and Community Learning International  whilst resources for the children are donated by or purchased from Publishing companies and NGOs based in Laos. We need your help to organise more “Elephant Mobile Libraries”. Typically, a 7 days mission covering 5 villages (about 700-900 students) costs around $2000 transportation, elephant rental, staff per diem, snacks & beverages and printed resources included.




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