One, two, three, four. She counts the MK2,000 notes from her envelope. She pauses, shakes her head and lifts her chin slightly. She puts the money back in her envelope, grabs her walking stick and starts to leave as her face breaks into a huge smile, relief drawn all over it. This is Steria Tomas, from T/A Mwambo in Zomba district. She is aged 70 and is one of the victims of the March 2019 floods which displaced 86,976 households and killed at least 56 people across 15 affected districts.
Mulanje district is known for its tea estates and is home to the highest mountain in Malawi. Yohane Kajawo, 17, is lucky to see this landscape every day. There are views of mountain waterfalls from his village, in addition to the vibrant green of the tea plantations. And, less than a kilometer from his home is Ngangala Primary School. Here you witness another sea of green, as hundreds of children are dressed in their bright green uniforms.
Tadala Sempani, 21, stands proudly at Chinamvuu Secondary School ground with a group of children who have just received scholarships from the Secondary Education Trust Fund. Her face is wearing a massive smile. It is a day to remember for her. Just a couple of months ago she thought her chances of continuing her secondary education were over.
Whistles, bustles, singing, and dancing. This was the atmosphere at Nankhali Primary School on 29th March 2019 when learners saw a truck loaded with desks arriving at the school. The primary school is located in rural Lilongwe. An area where many households struggle to make ends meet. The school itself had been disadvantaged for a very long time. It only had five classrooms for a population of nearly 2000 students. The classrooms were run down, with many learners sitting on the floor during lessons, with about 750 children having lessons outside.
Nestled in the lush, emerald hills of central Rwanda, Rubingo School boasts large, open playgrounds and bright classrooms. During the day, the surrounding village is quiet, and the school grounds deserted. The children of the community are all occupied with their studies, and cannot be found wandering around.
During her time at the orphanage, Maria Vasco would cry for no apparent reason. The toddler was so miserable, some even considered her troublesome.“When visitors came she would cry all day because people would play with the younger children and not bother with Maria,” says Rex Mbewe, the orphanage matron.
It’s a cold day in Shandong, China. The skies are grey and the grass is far from green. Dressed in a heavy pink winter coat, Sarah Mvula walks through university campus on the way to her dormitory. She is a prospective medical student at Shandong University. It is a dream come true for her.
The sprawling campus of Chancellor College is on the edge of Malawi’s former capital city. It is only 120 kms from the villages of Mangochi, but it feels like a world away. Tiffany Kapanda, 18, is a former UNICEF scholar from Mangochi, now studying at Chancellor College.
Chimwemwe Phiri, 12, loves to read. But because her school doesn’t have a library, she has to walk for two hours to reach the nearest library where she studies and borrows books. Her school doesn’t have enough classrooms either so many of the children take their lessons outside.
Funo Langa is a fundraising campaign for the Girls Secondary Education Trust Fund. It was set up to provide access to quality education for vulnerable students in Malawi, particularly girls. The Trust brings together existing scholarship schemes run by different organisations, including UNICEF, and will mobilize additional financial and technical resources to help academically successful students from poor backgrounds finish their secondary education.