| June 12, 2013

Reading in Africa: Worldreader Launches in South Africa and Malawi


Worldreader brings more book love to even more places.

We’ve just launched Kits partner programs in two new countries–South Africa and Malawi–and added another one to our Kenyan base.

Hello South Africa

In South Africa, “Books for all” has made its way to the Get Ahead Project (GAP) School and Mdatya Primary School.

GAP, founded in 1992 by a group of local parents frustrated by unsuccessful attempts to enroll their children in English-speaking state schools, has grown from a handful of students meeting in a garage to more than 1,300 students from Grade R to Grade 12 on three campuses. The Leacock Foundation, a GAP partner for more than a decade, has helped the Eastern Cape school complete ten major facility upgrades and expansions to accommodate the growing student roster.

Seeing technology as a way forward, GAP and Leacock partnered with Worldreader to set up a Kits e-reader literacy program in order to get appropriate digital reading materials and textbooks to the students. This week, 110 students and six teachers in grades 2 and 4 will be discovering great local and international books as the Kindles debut in their classrooms.

Get Ahead Project School, South Africa


Also in South Africa, we’re happy to add the Mdatya Primary School to the list of schools fighting illiteracy and building reading enthusiasm among elementary school students.

About 1,100 students and 25 teachers will access digital textbooks, storybooks and reference materials through a library and media center initiative led by the Matthew E. Russell Foundation and Advance Education Inc.

The school and the surrounding Eastern Cape community has never had a library before, and the concept of a library in this community doesn’t exist here. In addition to putting 50 Kindles in the school library, the Matthew E. Russell Foundation has also provided the physical space for the library, paper books and three computers.

Students at the Mdatya Primary School in South Africa.

The group sent us this video of the e-reader launch, which is loaded with pictures and a fun surprise at the end– a boy reciting a poem in the library.


Welcome Malawi 

There’s more reading happening in Africa. Let’s swing over to Malawi.

At the Namalomba Secondary School, east of Ulongwe Township in the Balaka District, 280 students and 10 teachers will dive into digital learning with 50 e-readers now available in the school’s library, a project supported by The Rosemary Pencil Foundation.

Certificates of appreciation were awarded to teachers after the e-reader training course at the Namalomba Secondary School in Malawi. From left to right: Symon Chibaka, program director at Children in the Wilderness; Alfred Magumbala, headmaster, and Gillian Rose, president of The Rosemary Pencil Foundation.

Gillian Rose, president of the Rosemary Pencil Foundation, sent the Worldreader team this report last week:

“We felt the launch went extremely well. It was held on May 30 at Namalomba School in southern Malawi under the shade of a large tree. Rows of chairs had been assembled and guests included the representative from the Department of Education in that particular school district; the head of the PTA [Parent Teachers Association] and several PTA committee members; the Village Head Man as well as all  teachers, members of staff and many students. There were several speeches including one by Gillian Rose, president of The Rosemary Pencil Foundation, Symon Chibaka, program director of Children in the Wilderness, and Headmaster Alfred Magumbala.

Over and over again, the speakers expressed their gratitude and promised to look after the e-readers and said how they felt this would enhance the learning experience at this school. They were proud to be the recipient of such a gift. The event included a presentation of the Worldreader certificate to Mr. Magumbala by Gillian Rose and the official donation of the e-readers. This was followed by a classroom demonstration when a teacher assembled Form Three and taught a class using the devices. The students were asked to turn to a particular textbook and a particular chapter and the teacher asked questions. This lasted maybe ten minutes but long enough for the guests who were also in the classroom to see the practical application. Drinks and light refreshments were then served for the teachers and the guests.”

Hi Again Kenya

Worldreader has many projects happening in our Eastern African hub country Kenya. The Imbuko Primary School is our latest one.

Located in  Kajiado County, Kenya in the middle of the Maasai region, the school– in partnership with the Immanuel Rural Development Mission–is offering its 168 student and teachers Kindles loaded with textbooks, story books and language books. The main focus will be on students in grades four to six.

This is a big leap for the school–apart from textbooks, there are virtually no other books in the classrooms. By introducing e-readers, school leaders hope to provide students with a wider selection of books that can be use as educational tools and for independent, leisure reading.


Imbuko Primary School, Kenya


Here’s a recent update from Matt Chang, project manager for the Imbuko Primary School:

“The launch went well. The teachers were excited about learning and implementing the e-readers in the classroom, and after having spent some time exploring the e-readers, were pretty good at using them as well.

The day that we introduced them to the students, many of the students came back early from lunch to continue using the Kindles, and some of the students have asked multiple times if they can take the e-readers home to read in the evenings. As the teachers went around dealing with students individually, some students began to read out loud in unison, telling me they really liked the e-readers.

We also introduced the e-reader program to the community at Imbuko Church, where we explained the project, presented certificates and provided lunch. The community is supportive of the program and what we are trying to achieve. 

Here are some pictures from our first week.”

Using e-readers in the classroom

The joy of reading