For many of Sister Clara’s pupils at St Martin’s Community Day Secondary School in rural Malawi, being in secondary school is a big deal. Many come from families of subsistence farmers who cannot afford secondary school fees. So to be in secondary school, their family may have sold a valuable asset such as a cart or animal or they have won a scholarship through our partner Gumbi Education Fund. Either way, education presents these children with a rare opportunity to make a brighter future for themselves and their families.
Pupils will soon be using books you have helped to send to make the very most of their education: the Gumbi Education Fund is currently building a library for the school and our brand new books will fill the shelves when it opens.
Sister Clara teaches English at St Martin’s and will be one of the teachers looking after the library. We talked to her to find out how she thinks the books will impact her pupils’ education.
How do you think these new books will affect the school?
English books assist learners to get more knowledge. English is a key subject in our country, it’s very important as it’s the language of instruction in schools. So if you have more books, especially English books, they really assist in understanding that key subject and understand other subjects better. Without English nobody could understand the other subjects.
You also took part in some librarian training – tell us about that.
The training was interesting. We did practicals – how to arrange the books, how to take care of them, how to display them, how to register them and how to help learners find the books they are looking for. We have really gained a lot and are able to assist our learners now.
How did you feel when the books for your new school library first arrived?
I was really, really, really happy. I have already used one of the books which you have sent when I was teaching spellings. There is some information which is very important for the learners. So when I was teaching how to write some of the words, I used the book.
When the library is up and running, how do you intend on using the books?
We will encourage the learners to use books in the library, for the books to be safe. But maybe in the week, they can borrow them and we can give them a specific time to bring the books back after they have used them.
What is it like for you as a teacher to have new books?
The books have information on the topics we are teaching and there are so many books. There is very good information in those books. These new books will add more knowledge to what the learners have already.