Create a Village Library in Africa - Hope Through Books

Video and Photos

A young girl excited about reading in Kenya.
A young girl excited about reading in Kenya.
Excited Village Book Builder volunteers smiling together in Kenya.
Excited Village Book Builder volunteers smiling together in Kenya.
A young Kenyan child child sleeps in the arms of a female Village Book Builders volunteer.
A young Kenyan child child sleeps in the arms of a female Village Book Builders volunteer.
Man smiling with book.
Man smiling with book.
Male volunteer in Kenya smiles with a group of children.
Male volunteer in Kenya smiles with a group of children.
Volunteers in Kenya posing in front of scenic waterfalls.
Volunteers in Kenya posing in front of scenic waterfalls.
Village Book Builders volunteers smiling with Kenyan children.
Village Book Builders volunteers smiling with Kenyan children.

About

This guided trip with Village Book Builders will be one of the toughest weeks of your life yet one of the best.

This humanitarian expedition will provide REAL experiences. By building a library, you will help those who are less fortunate have something that will truly change their lives and the lives of generations to come. During your time you will teach classes, visit homes, read with the children, build a library, and celebrate the completion of the library with the village.

You will have the chance to immerse yourself in the culture of Kenya as well as spend two days seeing the beauty of the country.

Village Book Builders is an organization founded on the desire to bring knowledge to children and families across the world by building community libraries that provide access to literacy education.

Highlights
  • All inclusive: accommodations, meals, project supplies, and transportation.
  • Two excursion days to see the beauty of your service country.
  • The opportunity to enter the homes of the villagers and understand their way of life.
  • Professional local guide providing 24/7 support.
  • Custom meals according to your diet or allergies.

Christmas Break Expeditions Open

Belize is open for registration. Come spend your Christmas giving back through service travel in the Caribbean!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 11 reviews
  • Impact 9.9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
Default avatar
Anne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Empowering Villages Through Libraries

Village Book Builders is an incredible organization that brings hope and excitement about learning to communities through books. The travel experience is enhanced with the sense of purpose that develops when the group works together. Opening a library and working with the children provides travelers with the opportunity to immerse themselves into the culture of those with whom one may never have interacted if traveling as a sightseer. I can’t day enough about the wonderful experience I had opening a library in Malawi this past summer. The most incredible pet of the journey for me was teaching the librarian and teachers how to access resources using the RACHEL server. I am forever changed. I look forward to learning even more on the Kenya trip in July 2020!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open to learning from and through others. Be flexible. Be yourself.
Me with the village
Brittany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Books bring Hope

Oh my gosh! where to start! My experience in Africa was life-changing with Village Book! Not only did it change the lives of the community we served but it changed my life as well! I had always wanted to go on a humanitarian trip like this, so when I found one that focused on my love of books it was a perfect fit. I will never forget sitting in front of the villager's home talking to them about the importance of reading and also hearing their stories and lives. Also, going from house to house being led by the children as they held our hands the whole way. I will also never forget seeing the excitement on the kid's faces when they went into the library and saw the hundreds of books and several computers. It was life-changing and I am so grateful that I found Village Book and was able to be a part of this work!

Default avatar
Sheri
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We helped change lives!

Going to Africa with Village Book Builders was not only a life changing experience for those who benefited from the library but a life changing experience for me. The group was well organized, and costs were lower than expected. We worked our tails off, but then had time for fun after our work was complete. All expectations were met and exceeded. We got to know the people, help and serve the entire community, and help individuals one on one. With the people of the village, we built a library, stocked it with books, then taught them how to use it. We saw their excitement in seeing a book for the first time. We taught them how to use the English Language Tutors on the computer. Then we celebrated with a grand opening of the new library! I saw first hand the difference a book can make in someone's life.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Most surprising was seeing first hand the difference learning to read can make in a country like Malawi. A security officer at the airport was upset and angry about the amount of luggage we had. When she saw it was nothing but books inside her whole demeanor changed. She picked up a book, carefully caressed it, then asked if she could take it home to her 8 year old daughter. She said if she could only have a book, it will change her life. She will be able to read and then she could get any job there is. It was surprising to me that so many people in so many places have never seen a book before. I felt pure joy knowing I could help open opportunities and bring the love of learning to so many people.
Default avatar
Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Malawi

When I first signed up to come to Malawi I thought I was going to be bringing a library to a random village. What I didn't realize was that I was bringing much more than that. I was bringing these people hope and opportunity.
Instead of teaching them Success Skills and Music like I had planned, I threw out my lesson and taught based on their needs. In the end, I learned a lot more from them than they learned from me. There is no amount of planning you can do that will prepare you for an experience like this. This trip is what I call an LC, a life changer.

One question that I was asked upon my return was, "do you feel like the people in Kadzakalowa are happier than the people in America?" I wasn't able to answer in the moment, but after a lot of thought I have come to the conclusion that they have something we don't. They don't have WiFi, they don't have air conditioning, and they don't have indoor plumbing. What they do have is a wonderful sense of community and showing people they care. I have never felt more welcomed into someone's home than I did when I was in Malawi. These people are from the most humble of means. This really is the warm heart of Africa. If I could go back tomorrow, I would.

What would you improve about this program?
I think I would try to simplify it. I often felt like we were too ambitious, and we didn't have enough time to finish all of our ideas. In the end, we were able to complete everything we had planned, but it did add an unnecessary amount of stress.
Default avatar
John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Bringing Light to The Warm Heart of Africa

The country of Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa because it is located in the center of Africa and it has a huge body of water that runs it border that supplies life giving water to much of Africa. Just like this body of water brings the necessary life to the surrounding area, the group at Village Book Builders are a body of caring people who are bringing life to the areas they touch. I had the blessing to be part of the service expedition to Malawi, Africa in the District of Ntcheu in a small rural African village of Katzakalowa. This village has no electricity and no running water. We were able to take part in the building of a library for them. I was an amazing experience and was a huge success. We had nearly 1000 people from the village and the countryside come out for the grand celebration of the opening of the library. We also fitted the library with Solar Panels so in many ways this library brought light to this village community. Light through knowledge and access to education and light through electricity and rechargeable lamps that the kids can check out with their books to take home to be able to read and study at night. The expressions of the kids and getting to read books with them was one of the highlights. To feel like at a very core level that you are making a generational difference in their life and in the lives of many to come really made the trip special. Great purpose, great people. All in all a wonderful experience and I plan to go again with this same organization, the Village Book Builders!!!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment was when the dignitaries were coming to see the library and the solar panel system was not up and running yet. I was still connecting the battery system when they were walking in but somehow just in the nick of time we got it up and running to demonstrate for them.
Default avatar
Rebekah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful Africa

It was a life long dream to travel to Africa, and it did not disappoint. When we first arrived the village was waiting there for us with a giant party and celebration! These people value education more than anyone I have ever seen. Even though the landscape was breathtaking it was the people who were truly beautiful! With Village Book we were able to truly connect with the village and feel part of the tribe. Our coordinators did such an amazing job guiding us through the week and helping us understand the culture and customs of the people, I don't know how we could of done it without them.
I loved the entire experience and would recommend Village Book expeditions to anyone, I felt completely safe the entire time, and am planning to go back with them the first chance i get.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Going shopping in a traditional market with our coordinator was amazing! the smells the noise, the sites was so unique.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Angela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Malawi, Africa Village Library

Just got back from a phenomenal trip to Kadzakalowa village in Malawi, Africa! We built a library, decorated it, set up computers and solar panels for charging them, and had a fantastic time! The kids and adults all were thrilled to have books, computers, computer programs, and other resources available to them! I loved interacting with them all, visiting their homes, and seeing firsthand the impact that such simple resources to us can have on them. They have hope for a bright future! The other expedition-goers were diverse in their life experiences, we all bonded quickly, and the the leaders of the expedition were top-notch! Mac and Brittany are servant-leaders with enthusiasm and dedication! The organization cared about our safety, comfort and fun! I am planning on going with them on another expedition next year!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I worked on the local language Chichewa before I came, but I wish I'd have practiced even more. They love it when you speak to them in their language!
Default avatar
Emerald
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing adventure

I went with this organization a year ago and I loved the experience that I had with them. I went to Ghana, Africa to build a library down there. I just loved experiencing the culture up close and personal. It was extremely eye opening and humbling. I also loved being with the kids and helping to open their eyes to the world through books. I remember reading with some kids and them being so excited to learn what a dinosaur was. I was personally shocked that these kids had not idea what dinosaurs were. It was just amazing to see the impact these books would make. It also loved watching the kids get so excited to read with us. We would have kids just run to us as we held our books we would read. It definitely was a real experience so not a 5 star hotel, but it was real and I loved the impact I felt like I was making. It really changed my life. I would highly recommend!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Advice I would give is to be prepared for a third world country experience. This organization try’s to get good accommodations, but their main focus is on the experience of the library and the impact that will make on the kids and you. So I would just prepare yourself for possible toilet problems, bugs and cold showers. If you are prepared for that then it will make your experience 10 times better!
Default avatar
Macmillan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

MAKING A DIFFERENCE WITH VBB!

Never have I felt that I was making a real and lasting impact in the lives of others until I went on a trip with VBB. I went with this organisation to southeast Africa (Malawi), where we built what we later found out to be the only library in the whole country to have computers, solar panels, reading lamps, RACHEL server database (which allows access to thousands of educational websites/materials offline) and many other educational resources. It was great to see the looks on the faces of the kids as they held a computer for the very first time. We also got to experience what I felt to be a deep culture immersion as we visited the homes in the village, and got to visit the local public market. It was indeed a life changing experience for my wife and me. I would highly recommend this organisation to anyone that wants to be part of something bigger than themselves.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Nsima (Cornmeal porridge). This is the most common local food in Malawi
Default avatar
Brett
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Love it!

I had a life changing experience traveling with VBB. It was amazing to learn about another culture and read books with the kids. I went to Ghana and we traveled out to a remote village and helped them build the library and help the kids get excited about reading books. We visited the kids in their homes and talked to the parents. We stayed in a nice home that had comfortable beds and was very secure. We also did some sight seeing. We went to a national forest and to the Cape Coast Castle. Cape Coast Castle was also a life changing experience for me. I am so glad I went on this trip and highly recommend the organization and it’s mission. If you are wanting to have a great time, learn about another culture, and meet amazing people (both fellow volunteers and locals) then this organization is your ticket!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
How much I would fall in love with the people there.
Default avatar
Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Village Book Malawi

I have spent the last few weeks in Malawi, a country that surely lives up to its name, “The Warm Heart of Africa.”

The purpose of my trip was to participate in the construction of a library in a remote village called Kadzakalowa. I went with a group called Village Book Builders, whose mission is to instill generational difference among villages around the world. It filled my heart to see how excited people of all ages were to use the library resources and it was even more precious to see children who didn’t know how to read open books and make up stories based on the drawings and “read” to other children.

Within the library, there were of course books available to check out, as well as lanterns so that where there is no electricity, it would be possible to see at night. This is especially impactful on the young girls who had to walk long distances in the dark to attend school.

Perspective comes from experience and understanding, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had for my eyes to be opened. Malawi and its people will always have a warm place in my heart. I will always recommend participating in an experience such as this, and I feel that Village Book Builders balances enjoyment with meaningful work that impacts lives for generations to come.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Research the country and culture you are visiting. Knowing language basics goes a long way. You will also be faced with surprising customs, and being prepared ahead of time helps ease the element of unfamiliarity.