& Profile


How did the CALEB Library Project become associated with Malawi?



Mawingo Jeys at Mawingamara

The following profile will give you some insight into how the former Byron L. Jeys from a small town in Iowa, came to Malawi; became a tribal leader; and changed the lives of the people around him and his friends and family back in the USA too.  Read on!


Tribal Leader

Byron Jeys has lived in Malawi since 1985. Byron, who is now the Village Headman in the small African village he calls home, is originally from northwest Iowa. In 1985 he moved to Malawi to set up a United Nations funded national program of vocational rehabilitation. Later he helped launch a private boys secondary school. In 1990, he started a thousand acre coffee farm, on a 5,000 foot plateau overlooking Lake Malawi. Soon other people settled around him, a mill was built, roads constructed and a local school opened and before long, a village was born! Byron Jeys became the tribal leader: Group Village Headman (GVH) Mawingamara Jeys.


Normally the position of Village Headman is passed from father to son, but Mawingo became headman because of his abilities and because he was the first to settle in that remote area. He has built a mill, a store, a school, a post office, and many roads as well as many other quality of life projects. He has planted thousands of pine seedlings to develop forestland on the mountainside

The Library

Now Mawingo is reaching out beyond his mountain village.  He is helping us to nurture this fledgling library in Rumphi, Malawi. Public education is still something fairly new in Malawi so Nyika Progressive Secondary School, started in 1998, is a role model for future schools. Currently there are three directors, nine teachers and 450 students.


According to the District Education Officers, Caleb Library which opened its door in the spring of 2003 is already the best school library in the Porto Region (northern 6 districts) of Malawi. In a country where public education was not a reality until the mid 1990s, this school is doing great things!

The Recipients

We believe reading leads to a better life, so we work in partnership with GVH Mawingo Jeys, to ensure that people in the rural areas of northern Malawi, have access to the reading materials they so desperately need.


Over 85% of the population lives in isolated, rural areas. Distributing reading materials to these remote areas is a real challenge. Currently, over 90% of the population receives a primary school education, but only 2% of secondary age group children are actually enrolled at government secondary schools. The number of secondary schools is increasing, but many of these have neither the necessary facilities nor qualified staff to do the job. They do not even have books to read or teach from!


Libraries play an essential role in supporting education and they provide reading materials for adult literacy programs too! As the country moves from a one party state to a multi-party democracy, books help people navigate the road to freedom. 


Mawingo sits outside his Bush House


Mawingo has had a rich and varied life that includes graduating from Westmar College; serving as an Iowa National Guardsman (Ranger); Eagle Scout; earned an MA. Hes a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer; former high school teacher; played football and bassoon; and has made Malawi his permanent home since the mid-1980s.


the warm heart of Africa!

Contributing to Africa's Literacy & Education with Books:

The CALEB Library Project

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