Real lives

Real Lives

Photo essays



Local hero: a rural teacher works hard to keep children in school
May 2017 - Makankhula Full Primary School in Dedza is typical of Malawi’s rural schools. A row of brick and concrete buildings front onto a wide playing field between a range of low hills and the main road from Lilongwe to Blantyre.

Meet Sydney: a rural teacher juggling two classes in one day
May 2017 - Sydney Chiunda, 30, is a teacher at a rural school in Nkhatabay District. The school is located over 30 kilometres from Nkhatabay Boma but less than two kilometres from Lake Malawi.

A second chance for girls struggling in class
August 2016: Dorothy, 13, is back in school after dropping out for 3 months. Ironically, the reason she dropped out was because she was falling behind in class and simply gave up.

Empowering girls through education
9 November 2015 - As Sileni Suluwali (16) prepares to cycle to school, she prays that she makes it past the community borehole before the usual crowd of women converges to draw water for their early morning domestic chores.

Spotlight on Girls: Protection and education are key
6 March 2015 - With the passing of the marriage bill on 12 February by the Malawian Parliament, girls can now be hopeful. The marriage, divorce and family relations bill lifts the minimum marriage age (without parental consent) to 18....

VIDEO: UN Joint Programme on Adolescent Girls (JPAG)
22 December 2014 - JPAG is the Joint United Nations Programme on adolescent girls in Malawi, developed to advance the rights of adolescent girls by providing a holistic package of interventions.

Keeping Girls in School: New WASH facilities for a brighter future
10 December 2014 – UNICEF and DFID joined Malawi’s Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Honourable Vincent Winstone Ghambi, in officially handing over the child-friendly, inclusive toilet blocks of Dwasulu Community Day Secondary School.

Investing in the future at Taiza Community-Based Child Care Centre
December 2014 - Women sing to welcome guests while some scared children run away. It’s the first time they’ve seen a big bus like this, escorted by police and lots of cameras. The bus is bringing Sunbird’s Search for a Star contestants to Taiza CBCC.

Mother groups in Malawi
November 2014 - This video shows some of Malawi’s efforts for girls to stay in school. An important element to achieve good education for girls are mother groups.

Raising the number of female teachers in rural areas
November 2014 - In order to raise the number of teachers in Malawi, and specifically the number of female teachers in rural areas, UNICEF Malawi joined forces with DAPP Malawi.

Preventing HIV in schools
27 November 2013 - On their way to an HIV testing and counselling day (HTCD) in Thyolo, HIV counsellors Ida Mangani and Alick Mulozi seem confident that the day will go well.

A new lease of life through football
02 September 2013: Sipping from his cup of tea and eating a biscuit, you wouldn’t believe this shy man comes from one of the most notorious neighbourhoods in Blantyre.

New classrooms, fresh worries
30 June, 2011: When Mombo Primary School in Mulanje, southern Malawi swung open its doors at the beginning of the second term in 2010, few expected the large numbers of children who turned up to enrol for the first time, not least the schools head teacher

New look school attracts boy to class
31 January 2011: Yonasi Takison, 15, has an interesting story to tell. He started school at 7, a year later than the recommended age but early for a child from rural Malawi.

I want to become a teacher
27 January 2011: Among the noisy and jovial pupils at Ngoni Primary School in Dedza district was Enelesi Yusufu, a 12 year old standard five pupil. Enelesi was still at Ngoni because of her unshakable resolve to stay in school despite the odds.

New Classroom too good to forgo
Noisy and jovial pupils welcome the UNICEF team arriving at Ngoni Primary School in Dedza district, situated about 90 kilometres south of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.

Young people lead the response to HIV and AIDS
Malawian youth have a refreshing way of tackling the challenges of HIV and AIDS. They are more open to new information and possess some rare insights, having witnessed attitudes to the disease evolve from secrecy, dread and stigma to more open discussion.

Girls return to “friendly” school, yet not without sacrifices
Children in her neighbourhood were keen to take advantage of the UNICEF-supported school. Unlike most other schools, it had newly-constructed, brightly painted brick classrooms, separate latrines for girls and boys, football pitches, teachers trained...

UNICEF helps to improve primary education in Malawi
Eight year-old Maureen Kalulu is like any other child her age. She is active, loves to play touch and go, and dreams of becoming a typist when she grows up.

Block by block, UNICEF improves primary education in Malawi
Eleven year-old Lucy Thumba does not like coming to school. The structure she and 83 other Standard Eight pupils call class is nothing more than an old, weather-beaten structure that has seen better days.

Cultural practices revised to advance girls’ education
For Mnjolo Primary School, the benefits of revising harmful cultural practices are clear: enrollments rates for girls have gone up substantially. More girls are not only enrolling but are also staying in school.

Back to school for a brand new dress
At 16, Jennifer Mailosi has experienced poverty first hand. Her parents have no income but rely on a small piece of land behind their compound. Other than her uniform, Jennifer has never owned any brand new garment, relying on hand-me-downs...

School block to change the lives of pupils in Malawi
From a distance, Miteme Junior Primary School looks like a market place with vendors in school uniform. On close inspection, one realizes that this is a school without a single classroom. Classes one to five are all held under trees...

New classrooms transform learning in Malawi
Chrisy Mzumara has been teaching for 40 years. A Standard One teacher at Mfera Primary School in Chikwawa, south of Malawi, Mrs. Mzumara was recalled from retirement by the government in 2004 to plug a teacher shortage ...

Mothers promote Girls’ Education in Malawi
Manesi Ernest saw her world come to a crashing end when her mother died in 1997. Aged only 14, her father had died a few years earlier.

Reaching for the skies: the dreams of a young Malawian
Fifteen year-old Ennifer Dzimuzani has big ambitions of becoming a medical doctor, the realization of a budding dream that she is nurturing deep in the dusty plains of the Shire Valley in southern Malawi.

Mothers help to recover children’s broken dreams
Twelve year-old Zione Edwin thought her dreams of becoming a nurse had been shattered forever. Unable to afford food and clothes, her jobless parents had allowed her to drop out of school, preferring that she supplements the family’s meagre income ...

Improved sanitation retains more girls in school
She purposefully walks to school knowing that she only has two terms before she goes to secondary school. At 18, Eveless Mayenje is much older than most of her classmates in standard 8.

Brian’s Story of Loss, Redemption and Hope
His is a perfect picture of adversity, tenacity and hope, a sensational, if not disheartening, drama whose final chapter, one prays, will end in glory.

New classrooms, new enthusiasm for pupils at Thembe Primary School
Thembe Primary School has seen better days. Nestled at the foot of Mount Mulanje in southern Malawi, the school was built in 1957, before Malawi as a nation came into existence.

Head of family at 13
Lilongwe, 22 November 2007 - Gaelle Sevenier

Thembe: a New School for Africa in Malawi
Blantyre, 7 November 2007 – Gaelle Sevenier

Back to school after violent marriage
Lilongwe, 19 October 2007 – Gaelle Sevenier





Photo essay: Child friendly schools

Learn more about the challenges faced by children to get an education and what UNICEF is doing about it depicted through photos.

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