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Bebook is a mobile library for disadvantaged children. Once a week, view volunteers visit various projects?a home for street children, unhealthy a school for children with learning difficulties and a home for children from socially and economically weak sections of society. While books and storytelling are the main focus, other related activities like theatre, music, art and craft are also utilised to make books more appealing.

This is even more necessary in today’s society, where reading outside academics is no longer considered important. The basic idea of the project is that books and reading for pleasure opens up a whole new world of imagination for children, which can help a child learn, as well as change ideas and thinking of the children. The underlying motto of the project is that learning is fun! The name Bebook means ‘little frog’ in Konkani and also plays with books, as seen in our logo.

The project started a few years ago under the Tara Trust. However, Bebook is now an independent registered trust from Feb 2012. We have just got a van for our mobile library, which was inaugurated on 3rd March this year at our Fundraiser, the Bebook Charity Fete, held at Literati Bookshop in Calangute. The van and its refurbishing were possible due to the funds raised by volunteers who successfully conducted Goa’s First Art Auction in March 2011, and the first Bebook Charity Fete in Feb 2011. The support of the artist community, art aficionados and donors made all this possible.
While we have worked at various projects like orphanages and a school for children of migrant labour in the past, we are currently interacting with three projects on a weekly basis.

A team of dedicated volunteers have built up a library of donated books, art materials and other workshop materials. The volunteers donate their time and skills to conduct the reading workshops at the various institutions, carrying the reading and art materials to centres in Panjim, Porvorim and  Candolim presently.

Though we have faced hurdles, the experience of working with children who are hungry to learn has been hugely rewarding for me personally and for the dedicated volunteers. The feedback from the caregivers has been almost consistently very positive.

There are mobile libraries for disadvantaged children all over the world including in Goa. Some of the more established ones are The Room to Read which was first started in Nepal and is now in different parts of India; Hippocampus in Bangalore and the Mobile Outreach Program of Bookworm in Goa.

It is too early to assess the impact of Bebook in Goa, but the support we get from the projects we go to and the response from some of the children is very encouraging. At the Bebook Charity Fete this year some of the children we work with performed a skit and some percussion and rhythm numbers under the tutelage of volunteer Arundhatti Chattopadhyaya and Goan percussionist Bondo. The impact of Bebook could be seen in the confident performance of the children. The response to the Fete is also a reflection of the fact that the community feels the need for such programs.

The success of the mobile library project has been twofold, in that not only do the children benefit but the community by generously participating in the fund raisers and activities is fundamentally involved in the evolution of the program.

We have very limited funds to run the program, we do not have any paid staff nor administrative staff. There is a serious lack of youngsters who volunteer to go to the projects and read to the children. We welcome assistance from well-wishers, be it volunteering, book donations or any other support.

BEBOOK, E/1-282 Gaura Vaddo, Calangute, Goa 403 516.

Diviya Kapur owns the Literati Bookshop and is the Managing Trustee of the Bebook Mobile Library Project.

Contact the Bebook project at