The Official Opening of the William Kamkwamba Community Library

The William Kamkwamba Community Library was officially opened on the 9th of July jointly by Jillian Wolstein and Balaka DEM. Preparations for the day involved establishment of different committees such as decoration, food, entertainment and security.

Participants to the opening of the library included community leaders from the area, government stakeholders and the community as a whole.


Department Number of people
H.E.L.P. Malawi founder & team (Ohio) 7
Traditional Authority Kalembo 3
Group Village Headman Nandumbo 3
Surrounding chiefs 8
Ministry of Education 10
District Health Officer 2
District Commissioner 5
Journalists 10
Central African Wilderness Safaris 5
National parks 5
Community Development Assistant /Area Executive Committee 2
School Management Committee/Parent-Teachers Association 19
DAPP/National library 6
Member of parliament 1
Nanthomba Teachers 16
Surrounding schools 15
Police 2
Other community key leaders 30
Total 149


Several people including our Founder and Chairwoman of the Board, Jillian; Country Director, Wells; and several Chiefs, Teachers, Pupils and some community members were interviewed by reporters on specific points regarding the opening of the library, and its use.

Amongst the invited guests were four media houses, including: the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and  Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS).

Apart from electronic media we also had Nation and Daily Times News papers’ reporters.

THE OFFICIAL OPENING-Report from Country Director, Wells Sakala

Although the program indicated that the events would start at 9:00 am, we however started the events at about 10:30am.  (In Africa, and I quote “people do not have wrist watches and yet have a lot of time, on the contrary people in the West have wrist watches and yet they don’t have time” end of quote).

More than two hundred people attended the function.  The program started with traditional dances.  However the beating of drums was not allowed during the performance as Senior Chief Kalembo of the area died in January this year.  Traditionally when a Senior Chief dies, there shall be no beating of drums at any dance performance within his/her area for a period of one year in honour of the late.

There were also plays and sketches which were performed.  These were mainly depicting on encouraging both the students and community to patronize the library and make great use of it.  It was quite interesting and clear on how the message of promoting a “reading culture” was presented to the audience.

The other important message that was passed to the group was the spirit of thankfulness.  Our donors have given us a special gift; the Library, the most convenient way of thanking them is by caring for the books, and the building.

It was all joy and dancing as Jillian and Paul the District Education Manager paraded towards the door of William Kamkwamba Library to cut the tape as a mark for official opening.

Nanthomba school was highly talked about in the country immediately following the opening as a centre for education with modern community library in a rural set up; the first of its kind in the country.

I have been receiving encouraging comments from various people on the establishment of the library and school.  These are comments from those that watched TV and listened to Radio interviews during the week.

We thank EVERYONE who made the opening of the William Kamkwamba Community Library a reality!

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