Big Brother Mouse book parties
Attending an Event
During our first decade, we encouraged visitors to sponsor a book party in a rural school within about a 90-minute travel radius of Luang Prabang, and then to attend with us.
We enjoyed this, so did visitors, and children in the schools. We've discontinued this program. We realize that this will disappoint many people, so we'd like to explain.
When we started, the average annual income in Laos was about $400 per year. Few people in the countryside had ever seen a book other than a textbook, often not even that. The book parties were a way to introduce children to the fun of reading, and get them excited about their first book. At that time, these schools could not afford to purchase books, and few people even saw a reason to put books into schools.
Laos has changed.
Laos has one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Average incomes in 2017 are about five times what they were in 2006. Books are still too scarce, but through the efforts of many people and organizations, including Big Brother Mouse, they've become more common. We believe books will spread widely only if people come to value them enough to pay for them, which will support business to do more publishing and, most crucially, distribution. We continue to get books into schools, but only when the villages involved will pay a significant part of the cost.
In the Luang Prabang area in particular, there has been strong economic growth. We have held multiple book parties and provided books to all the schools within a few hours travel of Luang Prabang. While it's fun for everyone when we return, we feel it is wrong continue giving books to schools simply because visitors will contribute for it. For Laos to become strong, villages and schools need to be more pro-active in deciding what is best for them and making it happen. When they get rewarded for doing nothing, they have no incentive to take initiative and make decisions about what works best in their circumstances.
If you came to this page because you wanted to sponsor and attend a book party, we're sorry to disappoint, but we hope you will understand and appreciate that our goal is to do what's best for our country.