The Gateway to the World is situated in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, in the Katutura district. The documentary follows two young people in the poor Greenwell Matongo area, where the library serves as a gateway to a better life for people. Trevelin (20 years old) flunked 10th grade and ended up as a dropout. Thanks to his friend, he found his way to a nearby library, and started to study the use of computers and now teaches the basics of computer usage in the library as a volunteer for the people of the region. Anna (13 years old) attends school at the Olof Palme Elementary School. After school, she heads to Greenwell library every day. Anna is one of the “prefects” of the library, she helps other schoolchildren with homework, teaches them how to use the computer, and plays with the children in the library for whom the library is one of the few safe places to spend some time. The time spent in the library is also reflected in Anna’s school achievements and she intends to continue studying to ultimately become an engineer.
The library was founded as a result of the Windhoek and Vantaa city cooperation program in 2005. The intention was to bring library services down to the grassroot level and today it can be seen that the expectations were even exceeded. The community has taken over the library and the number of daily users are so high that there isn’t enough space. The Greenwell Matongo Library has been a good example for the Libraries and Development project managed by the Finnish Library Association, which was launched in 2012, with 20 libraries from Namibia and two from Tanzania. The lessons learned in Greenwell are being distributed by the project and the concept has been successfully applied in these other libraries as well.
You can also find the trailer on Library Channel’s YouTube-site:
Duration: 29 min
Director and screenplay: Tuomas Lipponen
Filming: Panu Somerma
Editing: Petri Mäkitalo
Sound post-processing: Jukka Putkinen
Production: Library Channel – Libraries.fi, 2013