Visiting floating library MV Doulos Hope adds Khmer books for local readers


The MV Doulos Hope, a cruise liner turned floating library, will be docked at the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port until July 4. - PPP

PHNOM PENH: The MV Doulos Hope, a floating library operated by OM Ships International, is making its inaugural visit to the Phnom Penh Autonomous Port. The former cruise liner features a collection of thousands of books and has added a selection of Khmer language works for the local community.

This addition aims to make reading more accessible and enjoyable for Cambodian visitors, enriching their literary experience with books in their native language.

Wilma Hildebrand, a staff member from Paraguay who serves aboard the Doulos Hope, shared her excitement about the ship's arrival in Phnom Penh.

“We’ve never visited Phnom Penh before. We have been to Sihanoukville, but coming to Phnom Penh required us to navigate the Mekong River. Our smaller ship gave us the opportunity to make this visit,” she told The Post.

On its June 5 opening day, about 300 visitors came on board to browse, read, and purchase books. Hildebrand emphasised that they do not focus on visitor numbers but cherish each visitor's experience with the international crew and the book fair.

Kok Ros, director of the Department of Books and Reading at the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, expressed his happiness at the arrival of the vessel and said he had eagerly shared the news with students and reading enthusiasts.

“I have not seen it in person, but I was excited to hear this German-funded floating library had arrived in Phnom Penh. Although there are not many books in Khmer, I believe that young Cambodians can also read English,” he told The Post.

Before docking in Phnom Penh, the Doulos Hope visited Hong Kong. The crew plans to sail to Singapore next.

The ship's mission is to share knowledge, help, and hope, primarily through books and local ministry support.

"'Doulos' means servant in Greek, so we strive to be servants of hope," Hildebrand explained.

The floating book fair will be open at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port from June 5-16 and June 22 to July 4.

Visitors can explore the fair from Tuesday to Sunday between 12.30pm and 7.30pm.

Besides purchasing devotional literature, self-help, and children’s books – priced mostly between 10,000 and 20,000 riel – visitors can enjoy coffee at the Second Dock Cafe aboard the ship, while taking in scenic views of the Tonle Sap River and the bustling Chhroy Changvar Bridge.

Entrance is free, ensuring the literary event is accessible for all.

A former cruise ship, the MV Doulos Hope sails around South-East Asia promoting literacy and education.

Since its launch in May 2023, it has visited several countries, drawing nearly 120,000 visitors and selling around 150,000 books.

The ship's international crew of over 50 nationalities seek to foster cultural exchanges and engage in local initiatives to support literacy and social consciousness. - The Phnom Penh Post/ANN

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