MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, host of 'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' announced a partnership today with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF to provide desks to Malawi schools.
O'Donnell went to Malawi this summer and obtained desks for one classroom. He then developed a plan with UNICEF to help continue to supply desks to Malawi classrooms through a fundraising drive on his show. The Malawian education system is plagued by several factors, including: the lack of classrooms and overcrowded classrooms, a shortage of qualified teachers and a profound scarcity of teaching and learning materials, including school furniture. The scarcity of furniture and supplies has severely impeded Malawi's educational system by decreasing the participation of children in school. In most Malawi classrooms children sit on the floor because most classrooms have no chairs and desks.
"There is a major education crisis in Malawi and after seeing the conditions firsthand, I am compelled to try to help. Malawi schoolchildren endure terrible classroom conditions. With this campaign, I hope to help bring them the basics for a good learning environment," said O'Donnell.
This unique partnership between MSNBC and the U.S. Fund will specifically target the latter, by providing 172 schools with desks in four of Malawi's priority districts: Blantyre Rural, Dedza, Kasungu, and Lilongwe Rural East & West. The success of the MSNBC and U.S. Fund partnership will ensure that these 172 schools are well equipped, providing a safe and stimulating learning environment for deserving Malawian children.
In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, approximately 45 million children do not go to school and only 20 percent of children that do attend have access to furniture.
"K.I.N.D.: Kids in Need of Desks" by the numbers:
- 46,000 desks will be available to 224,000 Malawian students
- Each desk provides seating for two children
- The total cost of the program per child is $24
"A small donation to this campaign will help lift the Malawi economy and life students off the floor and just maybe turn an unreachable student into a great student could do great things," added O'Donnell.