“The light library is helping the children a lot”

24th January 2022 | Blog

Beatrice is a headteacher in a rural school in Malawi. Thanks to the books that our supporters have helped to send, alongside solar lights provided by the charity SolarAid, Beatrice’s students are able to access education in a way they could otherwise only imagine. Read how books and solar lights are changing education opportunities for students in Beatrice’s school.

My name is Beatrice Maluza the headteacher of Kalira School.

Working in a rural area like Kalira grants us the chance to grow food for ourselves and rent is cheap, unlike in towns, but we are fighting problems.

One challenge is housing. We are living in houses that are not reliable. Sometimes the wind blows off the grass from the roof. The houses leak during heavy rains and sometimes we have termites in the house.

Head Teacher Beatrice Maluza, Kalira School, Malawi ©BookAidInternational/SolarAid/ChrisGagnon

As well as this, the challenge with most of the children is to have breakfast every morning. They come to school hungry and it is difficult for them to listen to what the teacher is saying. They also face travelling difficulties; during the rainy season, it becomes difficult for the children to cross big rivers. Some students learn outside the classrooms because we don’t have enough classes.

We used to have a lot of problems with education and studying too because parents couldn’t afford to buy books or torch batteries for studying in the evening.

The light library we now have is important because it assists children with reading and learning and helps us overcome some of these challenges. 

Since the library started, most of the children’s reading abilities have improved. Now, because of the availability of torches in the light library, students are able to borrow the torches every day to read books and study in their homes.

Now teachers and children are moving together because students are able to read different books, and also they can read notes given by the teacher. I expect that many students will know how to read and write now. The class performance will also improve. 

Student Rhoda and Beatrice at school, ©BookAidInternational/SolarAid/ChrisGagnon

If the light library was no longer there it would disturb learning because the library has a variety of books.

Before the light library, we used old books which were not even right for the syllabus.

So a child was reading a book, just because it was the only book that was available, but he wasn’t really interested in it. 

Children had to repeat reading the book because there were very few books. Now the children are able to read various books, so the light library is helping the school and the children’s education a lot.

With thanks to all of our brilliant supporters who have helped us to send books to places like Kalira School and to our partner SolarAid for providing the lights that help children continue reading after dark. 

All images ©BookAidInternational/SolarAid/ChrisGagnon