Just like in many villages across rural Malawi, life slows down as the sun sets. Without access to electricity even the simplest of tasks become difficult. The small village of Tembetembe in Malawi, where Dalitso Halario, 13, lives with his parents and four siblings, is no different. After the sun sets, it becomes impossible for Dalitso to study and read, impeding his ability to realise his dreams for the future.
Just like his mum did, Dalitso dreams of becoming a teacher so he can help his parents and his relatives, “I want this job because I admire the way teachers do their job here at the school,”
Dalitso’s mum Emilina, who dropped out of school when she was young because her family couldn’t afford the fees, has the words ‘Dream Chasing’ written on her t-shirt. While she was unable to realise her dreams, she has hope that her children will have a future full of opportunity.
“I desired to be a teacher (…) If I went to school my life would have been different. I wouldn’t be living in this house. My dream now is to educate my children until they finish. I also dream of having a good house and some livestock.”
One day, Dalitso came home to his family explaining a new ‘Light Library’ had been introduced at his school. With solar lights provided by SolarAid and books provided by Book Aid International, Dalitso was now able to rent a solar light and a book to bring home with him in the evening, for as little as 1p a day.
Before the Light Library, Dalitso used a battery powered torch to study. Emilina, who does piece work, explains, “Dalitso was using the torch to study, but the light was weaker than the solar lights are (…) The problem was batteries. Sometimes it happened that the batteries finished when I didn’t have any cash to buy new batteries. For this reason, the child couldn’t study because there were no new batteries. But for the solar, we just charge it in the sun and at night he is able to read without any problems.”
The coming of the Light Library brought with it solar lights, books and newfound hope that his dreams could come true. “We did not have the chance to read books even when I started school. But now my school performance is changing because of the library,” says Dalitso and continues, “I borrow books from the library to read and lamps for lighting when I am reading, and if the teacher gives us an assessment I always perform better.”