Malawi is the 13th poorest country in the world with an average literacy rate of just 63%. Despite free primary schooling for all children, teachers struggle to improve the country’s education standards. Huge class sizes and lack of resources hinder teacher and pupil alike. When the Book Bus outreach team visited the country’s schools in 2010 the requests for books were overwhelming. Currently available resources in Malawian schools average less than 1 textbook per student.
The Book Bus is a UK registered charity that relies on volunteer support to operate its literacy projects in Africa and South America. Overseas volunteering often requires a major time commitment but Book Bus volunteers can make an immediate difference in as little as two weeks.
The Book Bus and its crew of volunteers aim to improve child literacy rates in Africa and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them. Our volunteers engage with children and their teachers, promoting reading in a way that is creative, inspiring and above all, fun. By mixing books with enjoyment, our volunteers can encourage an early interest in reading. Through repeat visits, regular book donations and help with developing library spaces, they are working hard to sustain that interest.
Since our first school visit in 2008 Book Bus volunteers have inspired thousands of children to experience the joy of reading through story telling, role play, creative arts and music. They have involved dozens of local teachers by taking the project into their classrooms and influenced schools, individuals and corporate companies to support us through financial donation and material support. We will stock libraries with fresh books and where there isn’t a library we will work with the community to convert an existing building or even construct a new one.
In the UK we run a school twinning scheme allowing schools to develop a two way relationship with that can produce a wide range of benefits for teachers, learners and the school itself.
Since 2008 over 400 volunteers have worked with over 20,000 children on two continents.
All our development projects have been carefully chosen to satisfy several criteria. They are of definable and sustainable benefit to the local community and allow us the opportunity to work in tandem with the people of Malawi. Our work with schools is organised with community assent and involvement to provide direct aid and educational assistance to disadvantaged children. The Book Bus development projects are over-seen by a Project Manager whose role is to co-ordinate the key stake holders, the funding and the project's objectives.
We are committed to direct patronage within the local economies of the countries in which we operate. Accommodation throughout the adventure is in locally-owned houses, hostels or campsites based in the project locations; and our day to day living budget will be spent by the team at local "grass roots" level. Supporting the Book Bus project is a unique opportunity to experience a foreign culture and to truly make a difference to people’s lives.
The Book Bus Foundation employs local staff in Malawi. Those that are employed are paid a locally competitive wage, with benefits for them and their dependents in terms of income, opportunities and choice. We are part of the community wherever we operate buying food locally and involving ourselves in the wider community where we are invited to.
We are about sharing skills and this is where our international volunteers can have a positive impact by sharing knowledge, skills and experience with local communities.
Donations of books and teaching and learning materials, and funding for the construction of classroom reading corners, are a second major strand of the Book Bus Foundation’s activities. This more material support has the potential to positively impact on teaching and learning outcomes in recipient school in the short and longer term.
The Book Bus Foundation invests in capacity building through local employment, teacher support workshops and hands on training of local volunteers. We collaboratively devise ways in which Book Bus Foundation activities can more effectively complement and be integrated into teaching and learning programmes in the projects' schools.
Reading books with children near Victoria Falls, Zambia
From £990 14 days excluding flights