Take a Peek Inside Rihanna’s Visit to Malawi in Effort to Raise Money for Education in Developing Countries

As the founder of the Clara Lionel Foundation and as a Global Ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education, pop sensation Rihanna has made it a mission to join the fight in providing quality education to developing countries in the world. Her first step in driving those efforts? A very insightful trip to Malawi.

The trip to Malawi, which happened back in January of this year, was chronicled via a short documentary that was released today (June 7). Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. The “Work” singer, alongside her foundation, Global Partnership for Education, and Global Citizen, visited Malawi to experience the country and Muzu. There, the population’s average income is 90 cents a day and 50% of people there live below the poverty line.

In the short film, it is revealed that Rihanna has partnered with two global organizations to “advocate for strong education systems that ensure the world’s poorest kids can get quality education.”

Rihanna spoke with the Minister of Education, Science and Technology Malawi, Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano. “I’m really here to see it – it’s one thing to read statistics, but I want to see it firsthand, and find out all that can be done and where to start first. Thank you for allowing us to be here and join in a partnership with you.”

Throughout the film, Rihanna can be seen teaching the students math and interacting with students who learn in rural Malawi. The focus of the film however is highlighting the Muzu primary school and detailing an overview of issues like women’s rights, hunger, and poverty and how those issues impact how students learn in Malawi.

A 14-year-old boy, Wongani Nyirenda, is also featured and gives his take on his experiences as a student in the Muzu primary school classroom. “We don’t take food to eat to school, although sometimes we don’t eat because of lack of food at home. I don’t worry that I don’t eat in the morning because I believe in the future when I will be a businessman, I will have more food,” he says in the clip.

The video also emphasizes the importance of establishing more schools. At the Muzu school, there is one teacher for classrooms that sometimes have up to 100 students. They also noted that although primary schools might have an attendance of 70-75% of students within a population, the uptake ratio falls off considerably and less than 10% of students move on to secondary school.

Additionally, the lack of schools in rural areas can prove to be an issue for female students who have to sometimes walk up to 26 kilometers to school, there and back. If the walk proves to be too dangerous, education might not be accessible to those girls.

There is so much hope and optimism felt throughout the film, despite these issues that students of Malawi and children of Malawi experience in the pursuit of education and a better life. The young Nyirenda is quite optimistic about his future and the power of nations coming together. In another clip, a passionate young girl speaks out against the disparities of arranged marriages and why they should end. Also seen is Rihanna helping students solve math problems and cheering with an all-girl rugby team chants about girl power.

“I love that they learn in melody,” the entertainer/activist reveals to camera. “That’s like my favorite thing because kids, they adopt melody really, really quickly. And so if you can use that as a learning tool, I think that’s the most brilliant, brilliant thing.”

With this trip and with this initiative, Rihanna hopes that fans all around the world will join her in this fight for education all around the world. She urges fans to help by donating to the GPE’s effort to raise a whopping $3.1 billion. $3.1 billion will help bring strong education systems to 870 million children in over 80 countries between the years of 2018 and 2020.

“There’s an importance to come together because together is powerful,” Nyirenda says.

Watch the short film in full below.

Photo Credit: YouTube/Global Citizen

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.