This blog is written by RIPPLE Africa volunteer, Nikki Luxford
Mr Longwe works with two assistant librarians, Burton and Jaffet, and he said he loves his job because it ‘entertains different people’. He said, “Before becoming the head librarian I was a teacher, and this is very similar work, working with the community.”
Burton, Mr Longwe and Jaffet
Both Burton and Jaffet have worked at the library for five years and Burton now runs the Adult Literacy classes twice a week.
Burton teaching in Adult Literacy
These classes were set up by Phoebe, a former volunteer and have provided many adults with the opportunity to learn to read and write. The majority of the students in adult literacy are women, mainly because the ladies never finished school. Most are also mothers who want to learn to read and write so they can help their children with their homework and read them stories.
One lady at the class was Christina Banda. A single mother of six, Christina never finished her education and when she heard about the adult literacy classes, she signed up as she wanted to learn English and to be able to help her children achieve more.
During the class we watched Christina, along with other students, reading aloud to the group before answering questions in English on the text they had just read.
Christina Banda, a student at adult literacy who wants to learn to read and write in order to help her children
Whilst at the library, I also met Chief Chibunya, one of the library’s regular members. The Chief takes out a book every two weeks and is extremely happy that there is a community library.
Speaking about Chief Chibunya, Mr Longwe said, “He is one of our regular readers and we like him as he knows the importance of books and takes care of the books he borrows.”
Chief Chibunya reading outside the library
The library offers both fiction and non-fiction books, with the students at the local schools being amongst those who borrow books from the Reference sections.
A lot of people also come to the library, not only to borrow books but to read the national newspapers. From the papers, not only do they learn about what is going on in Malawi but the rest of the world too.
The papers also give people access to see what job opportunities are around – and a number of locals have now found employment because of the library providing said newspapers.
RIPPLE Africa is looking for funds to continue running the library as it celebrates its tenth year.
If you’d like to read more about life in rural Malawi, Nikki has posted a number of blogs on her website.
Should you wish to make a donation to this fund to support the purchase of books, please visit our donation page.