Samuel's surprise

December 11, 2016


Mpemba school was the first of our schools to have a dedicated library built and fully stocked with thousands of books. As a result Allan Bawindow, standard 8 English teacher states the level of reading and comprehension has dramatically improved -


“before, the children had to share a few books with very limited content and these books were often damaged and had large chunks missing”.


The next closest library that the children could have access to is in Blantyre township, a 6 hour round trip walk resulting in none of the children ever venturing that far. Mr Bawindow is keen to explain how the library doesn’t just benefit the children it also benefits the teachers. He says


“You know English isn’t our first language, of course we teach it, but we don’t know everything. Sometimes we come to the library to learn the meanings of more difficult words. Even I myself came to the library today to learn and now I understand the meaning of the word ‘predicting’, so you can see the library is good news for everyone.”


These are encouraging words, the library doesn’t just benefit the children but the community as a whole and the teachers are upskilled allowing them to educate to a higher level than before.  As of 2016 the library also now opens to Adults on a Friday afternoon.

Samuel Banda aged 11 is often found in the library and explains how the library is helping him to pass his exams.


“Some subjects the teachers teach in Chichewa because is it easier for us to understand but the exams are in English, so when I read in the library I know I will be able to do better in my exams because my English is getting better and better.”


Sam’s favourite book is called ‘Handa’s Surprise’ he tells us why –


“because it’s easy to understand, whereas before it was difficult.” 


In his words


“When the library arrived I struggled to read English but now I can manage many, many books.”


Sam is one of many children at Mpemba school who has benefited from the library and he is now equipped with the skills needed to pass his exams and potentially see his dreams materialise.  Sam dreams of being a journalist – the chances of seeing that happen are beginning to tip in his favour.


- If you know of schools emptying their shelves or libraries re-stocking books and you would like to re-home them in new school libraries in Malawi…. please email Beth

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