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Watch Rihanna teach kids in Malawi in new doc

The ANTI singer visits the African state to call for an increase to education funding in developing countries

Back in January this year, Rihanna visited a school in Malawi to promote the effort to raise funds for stronger education systems in developing countries. The Global Partnership for Education, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation and Global Citizen visit Muzu in Malawi, a school in one of the poorest countries in the world. A new short documentary chronicles her trip to meet and teach young local kids.

“Met the bravest, most humble kids and young women this week! I can't wait to share more!” Rih Rih posted on Instagram earlier this year.

In the film, we see Rih meet in a discussion with the Minister of Education, educators and charity workers to discuss major issues facing young people’s education. The ANTI singer also leads a maths class, cheers on the girls rugby team, sings “Pamchenga”, a popular Chichewa song Malawians are taught to learn letters, and talks about what she’s witnessed at Muzu. 

“I love that they learn in melody, that’s like my favourite thing… if you can use that as a learning tool, I think that’s the most brilliant, brilliant thing,” she says.

“It’s such a pity that they have to drop out because they are so smart, and everybody is learning together and learning at the same pace it seems,” she observes. “It’s sad that... that has to end for some of them, because they could probably do so much if they had the resources to continue and complete.”

Back in February, Rihanna was chosen by Harvard University as the 2017 recipient of the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award for her vast philanthropic work. She founded a scholarship program to help Carribean students attend colleges in the U.S. She’s also a passionate supporter of work done in over 60 developing countries across the world that help young people access education.

50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, and the average income is around 90 cents a day. According to Angeline Murimirwa, the regional executive director of Camfed, 70-75 percent of students in Malawi get into primary school, but only 8 percent go to secondary school – a huge disparity.

Some of the major hindrances to education in Malawi are highlighted in the doc. Just one teacher is seen leading a class of up to 100 students; resources are seriously limited and school buildings substandard. It’s also depicted how some children could be doing 26 kilometre round trips just to get to school, and there’s arranged marriages, as well as the threat of HIV/Aids, widespread hunger and poverty. “It takes away the sense that you’ve got control over your destiny,” Murimirwa observes. 

The video also shows some passionate students from Muzu: one, named Wungani, talks of their serious issues, but how they are uniting for change: “Together is powerful, together is powerful, you share you knowledge and skills, together is powerful, you promote each other, you promote each other,” he sings in a song he wrote for Rihanna. “America came together, Africa came together, Europe came together.”

He details the lack of classroom items and widespread hunger among students, but remains optimistic that they can overcome many of their challenges. “I believe in the future, when I will be a businessman, I will have more food,” he asserts. Another student stands up in class to speak about arranged marriages and the problem of HIV. 

Rihanna and the charity organisations are calling on world leaders to increase their education budgets and funding to the Global Partnership for Education, to help it reach $3.1bn between 2018 and 2020.

Watch the short film below.