Ethiopia’s mobile camel library

A mobile camel library is giving children in Ethiopia’s most remote villages an opportunity to continue reading.

A camel library is giving children out of school in some of Ethiopia’s most remote villages a unique opportunity to continue reading and learning, despite COVID-19 lockdowns. 

The programme was first set up in 2010 and includes 21 camels, which are traditionally used by communities in the Somali region of Ethiopia to transport goods across the lowland areas.

When schools were closed, I was very sad,” 13-year-old student Mahadiya said. “However, as the camel library continued to come to our village and supplied us with story books, I feel very happy and I’m now able to borrow and take home the story book that I would like to read.”

The camels can carry up to 200 books at a time in wooden boxes strapped to their backs. Community volunteers also help children with reading difficulties. 

The project, set up by Save the Children, reaches more than 22,000 children in 33 villages.

The charity used to run a stationary library in the area, which has now been adapted into a mobile reading camp covering up to five sub-villages in the community.

At each site, the library spends two and a half days during which the camels can rest and eat, and are examined for any signs of illness by the herder.

Across Ethiopia, more than 26 million children are currently out of school due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, according to Save the Children. 

This video was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Katya Bohdan.