​​Solar Libraries

In places where few homes have electricity, Solar Libraries give children the chance to keep reading after the sun goes down.

Without light, learning is limited

Around 600 million people in Africa live without power. So 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.

It makes it much harder for children to keep up with their learning. 

Girls face even bigger challenges because they are often expected to help with household chores during daylight hours.

So, working with SolarAid, we launched our Solar Libraries project– and thousands of children now have books in school, and the chance to read and study after dark.  

The power of Solar libraries

So far, we’ve set up Solar Libraries at 37 primary schools in Malawi.

At each school, we work with SolarAid to provide 400 brand new books, 40 solar lamps and funding to buy more locally published books.

We run training workshops too, showing teachers how to set up and run a library and lamp lending scheme, and suggesting a range of reading activities.

Through the project, pupils can rent solar lamps powered by green energy for as little as 1p per night. So not only do schools have additional income, but whole families benefit as they can spend time together more easily.

And thousands of pupils have more time to discover the power of books – and use that power to build a more equal future.



Quality Education

SDG 10

Reduced inequality


Gender equality


Affordable and clean energy

Impact since 2020


Solar libraries created


Pupils benefitting

A long-term solution

Judith is a mother from Malawi. She struggles to make ends meet as a farmer, and she wants more for her children. Her daughter, Rhonda, wants to be a nurse – but she was struggling in school. Now, thanks to the extra reading time provided by her Solar Library Rhonda’s grades have improved, and Judith can see a brighter future for her:

It is important that Rhonda performs school tasks so she can become a nurse because it is what she really wants to do – Rhonda doesn’t have to be blind to the world like I am. I want her to keep on reading her books. This is her chance to have a good life.

Judith Unyolo, Malawian mum  
Rhonda on her way home with a book and a solar light

What Solar Libraries delivers

  • Pupils have access to clean, safe and affordable solar lamps, so they can spend more time reading at home
  • More books are available to support education
  • The quality of education grows, as teachers feel more confident using books in lessons and inspiring children to read.

Fund this project

We’re seeking support to create more Solar Libraries where they’re needed most.

Find out more about our charity

Our mission and vision

Our vision is a world where everyone has access to books that will enrich, improve and change their lives.

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Our finances

At Book Aid International all the income we receive is from voluntary donations – we receive no government grants.

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