The African Library Project

Africa is a continent with amazing natural resources, but many of the countries within are very poor. In southern Africa you will find the small country known as Malawi. Malawi is the 6th poorest country in the world. It is suffering from an epidemic of HIV and AIDS, and on average, only 62% of people are literate. The nonprofit organization known as the African Library Project is determined to improve the education of students in Malawi– and we 7th graders of U-32 are going to help.

The African Library Project was founded by Chris Bradshaw in 2005. She was inspired to take action after visiting the mountainous African country of Lesotho for a family vacation. This organization works in cooperation with schools and communities in order to expand and establish libraries in African countries. We in the 7th grade are planning to raise 1,000 books for a community library in Malawi, and $1,000 dollars to cover shipping costs and buy extra books.

We know that libraries can allow people to do great things, even in the most desperate circumstances. Take William Kamkwamba of Wimbe, Malawi. William was a normal boy. His family worked on their maize farm. He loved to tinker with radios with his friends, and repaired them if anyone broke theirs.  But in Malawi, electricity is not very common. It is difficult to get lines going to your house, and even if you do get them, power cuts are common, so almost everyone goes to bed when the sun goes down: 7 p.m. This was just one of many hardships.

In 2005, Malawi suffered from a horrible famine, followed by an outbreak of cholera. William had to put down his starving dog by tying him to a tree and leaving him. The rest of his family survived, barely. Despite this, and the fact that his father could no longer pay for him to go to school, William kept trying to learn. At the local library, he found books that inspired him to build a windmill and give electricity to his friends and family. Though most people thought he was crazy, with a lot of hard work, William succeeded in his goal, and brought light to his house. On a Ted talk, when he was asked how he built the windmill, he simply said that he went to the library, discovered how a windmill worked, and then: “I tried, and I made it.” His story is a true testament to the power of education and determination to pull off incredible things, even in the worst circumstances. You can read his book, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”, for more information.

We need your help to build this library. You can contribute books or money. We have placed book donation boxes by Amy Molina’s office, the high school front office, and in all of the middle school cores. There are change jars throughout the building: in the middle school Science and ELA classrooms, the teacher mailroom, and the main office. To know what books to bring and which books not to bring, look for posters in the middle school, or read the “Community Library” entry on the African Library Project website. Any questions? Contact Abigail Brophy (abrophy@u32.org) or Daisy Scarzello (dscarzello@u32.org) in Aramis. Thank you for contributing to our goal.

 

 

Works Cited

“African Library Project – Home.” The African Library Project., www.africanlibraryproject.org/.

Burton, James. “The Poorest Countries In The World.” WorldAtlas, 18 Jan. 2016, www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-poorest-countries-in-the-world.html.

Kamkwamba, William. “How I Built a Windmill.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, www.ted.com/talks/william_kamkwamba_on_building_a_windmill.

“Malawi.” UNAIDS, 1 Dec. 2016, www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/malawi.