If I come to school and find out that the library is no longer there I will feel pain because the library helps me. It is what improves my education. 

Ruth, student, Malawi
Home Education Ruth’s light library

Ruth’s light library

Ruth lives in a small village in Malawi, where most families can not afford books at home, or electricity for lights to read them in the evenings. That’s why the library in Ruth’s school, which is giving her access to both books and solar lights, is so important to her.

My name is Ruth Joseph and I am from Kanyera Village in Malawi. I am 16 years old. I stay with my mother, she is a farmer. 

I want to be a nurse when I grow up so that I can assist the sick.

My class is standard seven and there are 13 students in the class. My favourite subjects are Bible Knowledge and Science and technology. I like these subjects because I understand them well. My difficult subjects are mathematics and English. In order to perform better, I try to ask my friends who do well in mathematics and other difficult subjects for their help.

When Covid-19 came, the school was closed. After the lockdown, I didn’t pass my exams because when school was closed I did not do anything related to my education. I was doing other home tasks. Nothing was going well for me during Covid-19 because learning was disrupted.

At school, the problems we experience are a lack of learning materials such as books. But thanks to the new light library there are now many books along with the lights that we can borrow.

When I go to the library I borrow both books and solar lights. Students who were not able to read English are able to read. The solar lights assist us with lighting when we are reading, especially at home.

Ruth selecting a book to read

I think education will help me to get a job and give me a bright future. 

I like to read English books because Chichewa is my mother language. What I want to learn is English. 

I would love more English books to come. I want more English books because I know Chichewa better than English. 

If I come to school and find out that the library is no longer there I will feel pain because the library helps me. It is what improves my education. 

My favourite English book is, “How Pigeon Can be a War Hero.” I like this book because it tells me about the history of wars. From the book, I learn that war is not good. 

I can say that reading books is very important because without reading books you cannot understand anything in English. I believe a person who doesn’t read books is not a learner. 


Ruth is one of around 600 million people in Africa who live without power. Even when children have books the chance to take books home from a school or public libraries, they can only read and study during daylight hours.

That’s why we’ve been working with SolarAid to launch our Solar Libraries project– and thousands of children now have books in school, and the chance to read and study after dark. Find out more about the project here.

All photos ©BookAidInternational/SolarAid/ChrisGagnon

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