| October 30, 2013

Malawi Children With More Books Thanks to European Partner


Last week we launched our second e-reader program in Malawi. We’ve teamed up with Active Africa, our first major European Kits sponsor, to further improve literacy in Africa by bringing 5000 digital books and 50 e-readers to the Padre Pio Lusangzi Secondary School in Mzuzu. Worldreader’s Kimberlee Johnson was at the launch inaugurating the program with the Active Africa team. Here’s her view from the ground.


I know that Worldreader creates incredible opportunities for students in African classrooms. But with each new launch I better understand how hugely our reach extends beyond the classroom, creating opportunities not just for our students, but also for their parents and teachers.

Maurice Masala, Dwankhozi Hope’s Worldreader Project Manager(PM) in Chipata, Zambia, joined me in Mzuzu and became the first PM to ever lead another Worldreader launch! Maurice shared strategies that work every day on-the-ground at Dwankhozi Basic School. During Project Manager training, he advised Maria, Mr. Chimaliro, and Father Sijo, Padre Pio’s three Project Managers, on how best to incorporate the community into the e-reader program. Now, Padre Pio will allow parents to visit the school library on Saturdays. The next day, as the teachers rehearsed their e-reader lessons, Maurice impersonated curious students: “Teacher, can I clean my e-reader with water?” (NO!). Maurice made sure the students we worked with on our last day of training knew the correct answer to his question and how to care for and use the e-readers. In the photo below, Maurice helps Form 3 students learn the “go-to” function on their e-readers.

student training active africa

The students took it from there. I’ve never seen students catch on so quickly! Grace and Gloria, two Form 4 students, stayed after school to use the electronic World Atlas, analyzing the maps of Malawi and Tanzania and formulating their own opinions about which country has the most claim to Lake Malawi. Their initiative and enthusiasm is exactly why we do what we do.

After working with students like Grace and Gloria, we were all ready to celebrate! The Fathers and Sisters of the Padre Pio community organized a massive celebration, full of student songs, dances, plays, e-reader demonstrations, and speeches from distinguished guests like Dr. D. V. N. Rao, Representative of the Indian High Commissioner, and Malawi’s Minister of Health Catherine Gotani-Hara. Minister Gotani-Hara challenged the students: “The goalposts have been changed. You have to prove that you will make use of this gift. The ball is in your court.”

Minister of Health with Grace and Gloria

Our week with the Project Managers, teachers, and students of Padre Pio convinced us that the community will honor the minister’s charge. Welcome to the Worldreader family, Padre Pio!