Books by bike: Sri Lankan man runs mobile library for kids

By Bharatha Mallawarachi for The Washington Post

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — During his leisure time, Mahinda Dasanayaka packs his motorbike with books and rides his mobile library — across mostly muddy roads running through tea-growing mountain areas — to underprivileged children in backward rural parts of Sri Lanka.

Having witnessed the hardships faced by children whose villages have no library facilities, Dasanayaka was looking for ways to help them.

Then he got the idea for his library on wheels.

He started his program, called “Book and Me,” three years ago, and it has become very popular among the children.

“There are some kids who hadn’t seen even a children’s storybook until I went to their villages,” he said.

Dasanayaka, 32, works as a child protection officer for the government. On his off days — mostly during weekends — he rides his motorbike, which is fixed with a steel box to hold books, to rural villages and distributes the reading material to children free of charge.

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