Jeepney ride inspires pals to build mobile library

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

RIDING a jeepney sometimes leads to an inspiration.

This is what happened to Filipino-American Marcie Dunham, said her Canadian friend Genevieve Bisson, who wants to transform this public utility vehicle into something useful.

“She wanted to convert a jeepney into a mobile library,” said Bisson in an email interview with Sun.Star Cebu. “The idea came after Marcie sat in a jeepney and she had a light-bulb moment.”


When Dunham mentioned the idea to Bisson, the latter said she fell in love with it and vowed to support her friend.

They want to inculcate the culture of reading among children because they believe it is a way to solve illiteracy.

“We bought a classic jeepney and repaired it. We have been transforming it from A to Z,” said Bisson. “Giving children access to books gives them new possibilities, helps their creativity and their imagination. Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life.”

Their mobile library, aptly called dubbed “Beep Beep Books,” is run by It Matters, a non-government organization that brings books to communities with limited resources in Cebu.

The group had already donated 500 books and is still calling for more donations.

Bisson said they believe that if children “open books, they will open their minds.”

She is the director of Pandoo Foundation, a non-profit group with direct link to Pandoo Nation, an online game for kids.

“Reading gives you a thirst for learning. Also, it improves your concentration, communication, memory and imagination. I could go on and on,” she said.

Dunham and Bisson started out “Beep Beep Books” with funds left from donations for the victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

The jeepney is undergoing renovation in the compound of Handuraw Cafe on Gorordo Ave., Cebu City with the help of artist Tom Jopson and designers from Arkitekto KoLab Design+Construction.

Last Sunday night, the group held a fund-raising event at Handuraw; the funds raised during that event will be used to buy at least 100 books.

Aside from setting up events and making their project financially sustainable, Bisson said they plan to create a “volunteer-tourism” program which aims to attract tourists to join in their cause.

“We are also working on a adapted curriculum and we are going over all the small details to make Beep Beep Books not only a mobile library. We want to push the limit and create an amazing, fun, inspiring program to enhance the students imagination and learning experience,” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 05, 2014.

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