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.
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.
Nkhope Primary School is located in the lakeshore district of Mangochi, which is known for its chambo fish and beautiful beaches. Despite the picturesque setting, child advocates say it is important the school is a safe space for children.
As a field coordinator for an agency dedicated to empowering women and children, Phillipina Nkota is passionate about teaching young people how to stand up to violence and abuse.
Every week Nkota and her colleagues, who work for Ujamaa Pamodzi Africa, a non-government organization, visit primary schools in Mangochi.
Masuku Primary School is located near the Chiponde Mozambique border in Mangochi district. The school has a population of 2000 students, who attend the school from nearby villages. One of these students is Amina Banda (not her real name). She lives with her grandmother in Nakapa village along with her two siblings.
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.
Collins Gwape, 17, is in Standard 8 at Magomero Primary School in Mangochi, Malawi. When he was younger, Collins was friends with a group of popular boys at school. They would often physically abuse girls and touch them inappropriately.
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.
Vanessa Kanzati is seated by the school hall. While she doesn’t have classes for several hours, she is studying as hard as she can. That’s because she goes to a double shift school and only has four hours of class each school day. She needs every spare moment to get ahead.