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See the world through a child’s eyes … young children in Malawi learn through play and drawing

Malawi 9
Children doing their drawings at a preschool run by RIPPLE Africa

Child nutrition (Early years), Childcare, Early childhood development, ​Learning through play (Early years), Safe pregnancy and birth, Teachers and learning

As part of Theirworld's #5for5 campaign for early childhood development, we asked preschool children in different countries to draw something about their day or their family. Here we visit Malawi.


Do we really know what goes on in a young child’s mind? What are they thinking or feeling? How do they express themselves?

We have a bit of an insight – thanks to some pre-schoolers in Malawi, Mexico, Nepal and Palestine.

As part of Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign, we asked charity and school workers to speak to children and ask them to draw something about their day or their family. 

#5for5 is calling on world leaders to invest in early childhood development. All young children need access to quality care including nutrition, health, learning, play and protection. Having fun, exploring the world and learning through play is a vital part of that.

World leaders are meeting in Germany in July at the G20 Summit to agree their priorities and what they should fund. We need them to prioritise the early years and especially pre-primary education, especially for the poorest and most marginalised children.

The children in the gallery below are from northern Malawi and attend preschools. Some have to walk for half an hour to get there in the morning, after doing chores.

The preschools are run by RIPPLE Africa (a UK-registered charity working in Malawi since 2003) and support many children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and are living with extended family.

Pam Haigh, RIPPLE’s UK General Manager, said: “We run large-scale environmental projects and more local educational and healthcare projects near our base in northern Malawi.

“We have eight thriving preschools.  Unlike primary education, preschools receive no funding from the government and RIPPLE Africa pays for 26 preschool teachers, a preschool co-ordinator, staff training, building maintenance, resources.

“We also provide a nutritious hot lunch, as many of the children who attend the preschools are malnourished.

“The preschools each support large numbers of children – some more than 100. These are children of local subsistence farmers and fishermen, and many are orphaned through HIV/AIDS and are being cared for by extended family. 

‘We are helping them start their educational journey and giving them an opportunity to learn through play.


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