Rihanna Visits Malawi Schoolchildren, Helps Teach Math in New Short Film -- Watch!
By Latifah Muhammad
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Rihanna wants ensure that the world’s poorest children have access to "quality education."
On Wednesday, the international advocacy organization Global Citizen released a short film chronicling the 29-year-old singer's recent visit to a school in Malawi, where she helps teach math to an adorable group of young students and happily leads a "girl rule!" chant.
In January, Rihanna's Clara Lionel Foundation partnered with Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen for a trip to the Muzu primary school. The visit also included a candid conversation with Malawian teachers and administrators about how poverty affects the country's youngest citizens.
She was joined on the trip by Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia and Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen.
"It's one thing to read statistics but I want to see it firsthand, and find out all that can be done and where to start first," she shares during a roundtable meeting alongside Gillard, Evans and Dr. Emmanuel Fabio, Malawi’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology.
The small East African nation is one of the world's poorest countries with 50 percent of its population living under the poverty line. The economic crisis is directly contributing to Malawi’s dropout rate, as well as the lack of funds to build more schools and update current classrooms with proper desks and other supplies.
"This is a beautiful school, and there are good teachers, [and] good learners. But there's some lack of blocks, lack of chalk, lack of books." says Wongani Nyirenda, a 14-year-old Muzu student who explains that, due to classroom overcrowding, teachers are forced to teach some classes outside, which can be dangerous during the rainy season.
Despite the school's financial hardships, Rihanna was amazed by the way that music is used as a "learning tool" for math and other subjects.
"That's my favorite thing," she says. "Kids adopt melody really quickly. If you can use that as a learning tool, I think that’s the most brilliant thing."
The GRAMMY winner formed a partnership with GPE and Global Citizen in 2016, in an effort to help "tackle the global education crisis through advocacy."
In September, Rihanna headlined the Global Citizens Festival in New York, and encouraged her fans to ask their governments to increase their commitments to education in emergencies. The call to action resulted in Canada pledging $20 million to the Education Cannot Wait fund, and France committing a further $2 million.
Rihanna is now calling on fans and fellow "global citizens" to join her in supporting GPE's campaign to raise $3.1 billion from donors around the world. The funds will help GPE bring "quality education" to more than 870 million children in 89 countries between 2018 and 2020.