My hope for the school library is that it grows and has every book that a primary school learner would need to achieve their dreams. 

Phillimon, Teacher in Malawi
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Books to dream and achieve

Phillimon is a teacher at a rural community primary school in southern Malawi. He knows that books help children dream of a brighter future – they helped him achieve his dream of becoming a teacher. This is his story.

My name is Phillimon Kaombe, I am 33 years old and I am married with two children. I am a teacher at Matale Primary School in rural Malawi.  

Education has helped me to fight against poverty. I can afford to cover more than just our basic needs because I get a salary from my teaching job. 

I am a reader. I love textbooks, especially the sciences, because they help me to fully prepare for lessons.  Books make teaching easier and more enjoyable. I believe I was born to a teacher but without books I wouldn’t have become a teacher.

Education empowered me to be a teacher, but education is impossible without books. 

At our school there are 18 teachers and we have 817 learners. We are provided with textbooks which we use to teach, but they are not enough. Our facilities are not too bad compared to other schools, but we still need help.

In rural Malawi learners walk very long distances to come to school. In the rainy season for example, some of them have to cross rivers to get to school, which is dangerous. This discourages them from coming. Another challenge is poverty, most children have no breakfast or lunch. A book would be a luxury because money is mainly spent on food, so the pupils don’t have access to books outside of the school library.  

The Malawi National Library Service has helped us by donating books from Book Aid International. Before this donation we did not have any supplemental reading or any children’s books.  

The impact of these books is huge. Learners are happy and excited to read children’s books.

The books open up their world and introduce to them a reading culture. We have received all sorts of amazing books for both learners and teachers and grades are improving tremendously. We would love more science books and novels for older children. 

Books are helping level the playing field with other schools in urban areas. They are key to education which in turn is key to the fight against poverty.

My hope for the school library is that it grows and has every book that a primary school learner would need to achieve their dreams. 

I would like to say thank you to Book Aid International for changing our lives. 

Give teachers like Phillimon the books they need

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Photos © BookAidInternational/TChikondi

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