The Book Bus

The Book Bus aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.

As any avid reader will appreciate, books impart knowledge, fire the imagination and open up new horizons; they are also a tremendous source of enjoyment.

Reading isn’t just one of life’s great pleasures however, as the world enters the computer age and employers seek literate employees so reading has become a critical life skill. Access to the written word has never been more important and illiterate societies risk being left behind as their populations struggle for social and economic survival.

The Book Bus is currently working to improve literacy rates at a community level in Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador. Our library work, book donations and assisted reading programme is helping strengthen the reading culture in schools resulting in a more confident reading population that is better equipped for the future.

The Book Bus supports schools by providing mobile library facilities and volunteer story-tellers to help children become confident and literate readers for life. Working mainly with rural schools, our volunteer crew divide huge classes into small groups and inspire the children to read by personalizing the reading experience through story-telling, individual interpretation and creative arts. This simple and effective support is sustained by provision of books and resources to each school library.

Thanks to the support of our generous donors and enthusiastic volunteers the Book Bus has been able to make a real difference to many needy communities in Africa and South America.

Join the Book Bus mobile library crew

If you enjoy working with children and are addicted to books then the Book Bus can take you to a world beyond your own. We welcome aboard individuals, friends and couples and, with previous volunteers' backgrounds ranging from teacher to banker to plumber to journalist, there's never a dull moment on the Bus.

Age is certainly not a limiting factor when joining the Book Bus crew. We have hosted a family with 2 children aged 9 and 11 and at the other end of the scale we have welcomed the wisdom and experience of retired folk in their mid to late 60's; in fact, it's not unusual for us to have 3 generations on the bus at any one time.

We make the Book Bus lifestyle as comfortable as possible. For example, when done properly, outdoor life in Africa offers a great living experience! Our permanent camp in Livingstone offers comfortable camping with large walk-in tents, hot and cold water and a relaxing pool for afternoon dips after school.

Each of our destinations offers its own unique attractions in addition to the Book Bus project. Whether you join us for 14 days or up to 4 months, your participation can transform a child's life, and your own, for ever.

Literacy in motion.

Reading isn’t just one of life’s great pleasures, it is an essential life skill; it improves literacy, develops a positive attitude towards learning and is crucial to the academic and social development of young people.

Our projects-

Victoria Falls, Zambia- This project is based in Livingstone, an historic colonial town. You will work with schools in this area and have the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls or participate in a Bostwana Safari.

Meheba UNHCR Refugee Settlement- This placement lasts for either 3 or 6 weeks throughout summer. You will work in a UNHCR refugee settlement with displaced children from Rwanda, DRC and Angola.

Lake Malawi- Experience the beautiful Lake Malawi and help children that have very little opportunity to develop their reading skills.

Book Bus Safari- Combine travel with your volunteering. We travel from Zambia to Malawi and work with schools on the outskirts of a national park. Experience safari up close, camping with hippoes whilst promoting literacy.

Ecuador, South America- This is our Spanish language project. It is important that you have a good grasp of Spanish in order to communicate with the children effectively. Work with schools in the Amazon Jungle, Andes Mountains and Pacific Coast.

The Book Bus volunteer programme is operated in partnership with VentureCo Worldwide, experts in expedition logistics and adventure travel to Africa, Asia and South America. Find out more viewing our volunteering destinations in Zambia, Malawi and Ecuador.

Duration / Dates

The projects available depend on the time of year you are departing. Please contact us for more information. Projects can last between 2 weeks and six months.

Costs / Pay

Project contribution from £695 for two weeks.

Contact / Enquiry


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