Despite its plethora of natural resources, the continent of Africa is constantly being associated with abject poverty. While one cannot make blanket statements about the Motherland of 54 countries; colonization, war and political corruption have hit many of its people hard, often resulting in a need for outside resources.
Every country and need is different, and for Rihanna, her desire to help the children of Malawi comes from an intimate place.
"It's amazing, the way that they learn," the 29-year-old said about students at the Muzu Primary School. "I love that they learn in melody. That's like my favorite thing because kids, they adopt melody really, really quickly. And so, if you can learn that as a learning tool, I think it's the most brilliant, brilliant thing."
In 2016, Rihanna formed a partnership with Global Partnership for Education (GPE), the only global fund exclusively focused on education in developing countries. In the lead up to headlining the annual Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, she called on her fans to ask their governments to increase their commitments to education. In response, Canada pledged to invest $20 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund, with France committing a further $2 million.
Now, as founder of the Clara Lionel Foundation and Global Ambassador for GPE, the artist is hoping to raise $3.1 billion for 870 million children in 89 countries between 2018 and 2020 to get a proper education.
In Malawi specifically, they suffer from an uptake ratio that shows 70-75 percent of kids getting into primary school but only eight percent going from primary to secondary school. As noted by educators in the southeastern African country, poverty takes away children's sense of control— in addition to being difficult to focus on class.
"It's one thing to read statistics but I want to see it first hand and find out all the that can be done and where to start first," Rihanna said in a sit down with organizers. "Thank you for allowing us to be here and join in a partnership with you."
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