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 school closures.

Save the Children first began the camel library in 2010. The program includes 21 camels, which are traditionally used by communities in the Somali region of Ethiopia to transport goods across the hot lowland areas. Camels can carry up to 200 storybooks at a time in wooden boxes strapped to their backs. The project currently reaches over 22,000 children in 33 villages.

Across Ethiopia, over 26 million children are out of school due to COVID-19. By continuing its camel library outreach program, Save the Children is making sure children can continue to read and learn while at home.

Mahadiya, 13, is in grade seven in a remote part of the Somali region of eastern Ethiopia. Since COVID-19 forced her school to close in late March, she has been unable to go to class.

To help her keep up with her studies, Mahadiya is making use of Save the Children’s mobile camel library, which visits her village every week. When she grows up, Mahadiya says she hopes to become an engineer.

“Before the coronavirus, we used to go to school regularly,” said Mahadiya. “The school used to provide us with a meal each school day, but now that has stopped. I feel sad and disappointed that I cannot go to school.

“I am worried it may not open soon. Because of this, I am worried that we could forget some of the things we learned in school and we could fail our exams. 

“After schools were closed, many children were out of school and they were exposed to child labor and exploitation. Many children have become herders and some walk into the bush to look for firewood. When schools were closed, I was very sad.  However, the camel library continued to come to our village and supplied us with storybooks. I feel very happy and I am now able to borrow and take home the storybook that I would like to read.”

Mahadiya’s family has also suffered financially during COVID-19 due to school closures and movement restrictions. Their family income used to come from a small shop, but because of increases in the price of goods and a decrease in the number of customers, her family is struggling to make ends meet. Her family also used to own livestock, but the ongoing drought in the region meant that most of the animals needed to be sold.

“It has been nearly three months since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded in Ethiopia,” said Ekin Ogutogullari, Save the Children’s Country Director in Ethiopia. “The virus poses particular challenges for vulnerable populations living in high-density or resource-poor communities, migrants, and displaced children.

“In Ethiopia, we recently conducted a survey where children told our team about their perceptions and concerns about COVID-19. Children raised concerns around increases in child labor, early marriage, and abuse due to the outbreak and closure of schools.

“On top of this, Ethiopian children and their families are facing floods, desert locusts, cholera, measles, food insecurity, and rising poverty levels. The scale of this crisis is huge, but we are determined to meet the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure no child is worse off at the end of this pandemic.”

~ From COVID-19: A Camel Library Takes Remote Learning to New Levels



  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again. Caleb is grounded in Work For Home and can’t come out to play this week.


  1. Excellent post, David. Reminds us more fortunate to give thanks and give generously.


  2. Encouraging to know there are people coming up with useful ways to keep children in the learning loop.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love, love the library, and we have absolutely nothing to complain about, and everything to be grateful for.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a fantastic idea this library is! And Mahadiya makes my heart sing. Always heartening to encounter a child who’s excited about learning and to see that enthusiasm nurtured. We really do have silken worries here by comparison….

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love this. Thank you for sharing.
    Layla’s best friend is Ethiopian, Her name is Gelila. Her family’s emphasis on education and hard work is highly admirable. I will make sure to share.

    The camels participating in this mission are highly admirable too. I bet they hold their heads higher knowing they serve a purpose like this.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nothing like a little perspective to remind us.thst we are not in the same boat though we are in the same storm.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Probably the best Wednesday post so far! I love and adore the hunger of this Mahadiya to learn, the resourcefulness and the determination to get the info needed by any way possible. Also, as I discussed on the phone yesterday with a virtual friend who had an open brain surgery 2 days before C19 lockdown, just HOW lucky we are to be where we are at this time, how many blessings in disguise we got and get, how things can turn around 180° within moments, this is another moment to realise How Good We Have It.
    We tend to say ‘We’re complaining on a very high level’, when not everything is as easy as we would like it. This is an excellent example for striving towards your goal, never mind the costs and efforts…. Thank you for an exemplary article.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Valerie Meluskey says:

    Oh-h we need so much more of this outreach! So many people with less than nothing became amazing contributors to our world…all because of books, and if available, libraries. The most dramatic may be Frederick Douglas…then, Maya Angelou,…Malcolm X–the written word!
    And what a lovely job for a camel!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Camels bringing joy to children. How wonderful.


  10. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Wow!! Truly amazing … CALEB!! … “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 school closures.” … read more in post!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Way to go, Caleb!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. what a wonderful idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hey, just about missed it! Caleb with a message! Great! HHD, Dave! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Alan Malizia says:

    Moving Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. and to think I used to get excited about the BOOKMOBILE!! Amazing! 🙂 A camel after my own heart … MJ

    Liked by 1 person

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