The Straits Times
Published on Oct 23, 2012

Family visits maid's hometown - and starts a library


Before a Singaporean family accompanied their maid back to her Philippine hometown for Christmas in 2010, they wondered what gift they could bring along that would leave a permanent impact.

They settled for a library - for the local community - which would be set up in the home of the maid, said National University of Singapore student Xu Cunzhi, 23, who went to Nueva Vizcaya in Luzon with his parents and maid Bernardina Dauz, 53. The library was so well-received that Mr Xu went on to set up another library in the Philippines with friends.

Last month, the team registered Reads for Kids, a non-profit society, with plans to do even more. Led by Mr Xu, it has about 20 people, including his schoolmates, involved in activities.

Funds will be needed to drive the expansion plans to set up libraries in other areas of the Philippines and even China. The earlier ventures were easier to pull off because both libraries were set up in existing buildings - the maid's house and a disused classroom.