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Thomas Kasonde Mukonde

Thomas Kasonde Mukonde
Thomas now works with the Lubuto Library Project in Zambia.

Thomas in his office
Thomas hard at work in his office. (Photo by Kenny Hau.)

Thomas was at Pestalozzi from 2005 to 2007. He then studied in the USA before returning to Zambia, where he now works to improve public libraries in his home country. He took the time to answer a few questions from Marketing Officer Jonathan Williams in January 2014.

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. Let’s start with a bit about your situation before you came to Pestalozzi.
I came to Pestalozzi after a public school secondary education in Zambia. I consider myself very privileged to have gotten the scholarship to study in the UK. It gave me a different perspective on life and opened up the opportunity to study in the US.

And what have you been doing since you graduated in 2007?
I completed my university studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. in 2012 and now work for Lubuto Library Project in Zambia. We are building libraries in places where there would otherwise be none. Our main focus is on marginalized children and youth.

That sounds amazing! I have a real interest in public libraries as a tool of social change. How did you come to be working with the Lubuto Library Project?

I met the founder of the project, Jane Meyers, in Washington, D.C. I was in college at the time and was looking for ways to volunteer. I spent some time volunteering with them in their classification efforts before books are shipped to Zambia (where local materials are added). I have known about the organisation since and have closely watched our activities in Zambia.

When I came back to Zambia last year after teaching in D.C., I was looking for something to channel my education and experience into and Lubuto approached me. I was more than glad to join them. I see public libraries as a way to achieve my broader goals of social justice: promoting children’s rights.

Public libraries in Zambia are in dire need of resuscitation. I'm glad to be part of an organization that is helping with this. In the future I hope to contribute to the attainment of equality in the education system.

You’re doing fantastic work. My final question is really, what does Pestalozzi mean to you?
Pestalozzi embodies lofty ideals. The most special part of my Pestalozzi experience was meeting people from different parts of the world and sharing life and experiences with them. I learned a lot about myself from sharing my culture and learning other people's cultures and traditions. I made lots of good friends.

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