First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, known as the “warm heart of Africa,” on Thursday afternoon. Mrs. Trump was greeted at the airport by the First Lady of Malawi, Gertrude Mutharika, and her granddaughter, who handed Mrs. Trump flowers. Children and dancers performed at the arrival ceremony.
The First Lady traveled to Chipala Primary School, and was greeted by the Minister of Education, Science, and Technology, Bright Msaka and the Head Teacher, Maureen Masi. Over 9,000 students attend the school. The facility has 22 indoor classrooms and 17 outdoor classrooms with an average class size of approximately 234 students per class. The First Lady toured the classrooms, observed an English lesson, and later met with teachers, parents, and local school management.
At a textbook handover ceremony, the First Lady discussed the importance of educating and empowering youth and lauded USAID’s continued efforts to increase access to quality education for children in Malawi. Before departing the school, Mrs. Trump stopped in the schoolyard to watch students play soccer with a few of the soccer balls that she donated. Along with the soccer balls, the First Lady donated other Be Best items including tote bags with classroom supplies inside for the teachers, as well as storybooks, pencils, pens, and notepads for the children.
As part of the National Reading Program (NRP), The U.S. government has procured and distributed, through local Malawian firms, 8.23 million copies of Standards 1-4 Chichewa and English textbooks for every public primary school student in Malawi, with an additional 1.37 million textbooks printed internationally.
At Chipala Primary School, the U.S. Mission has benefited 5,958 students from Standards 1-4 in the 2017/18 academic year through a donation of 12,592 textbooks.
“The growth and success of a country starts with educating our children,” said First Lady Melania Trump. “I want to thank the teachers and children at Chipala Primary school for today’s warm welcome and commend the staff for their commitment to providing their students the education and tools needed to grow and to be able to contribute to a prosperous society. The positivity and passion to learn was so evident in each classroom, and I appreciate the time everyone took to show me around the school.”
Following the school visit, Mrs. Trump met with Ambassador Virginia Palmer and the Embassy staff, thanking them for their service on behalf of the United States and their continued efforts in Malawi. Mrs. Trump is the first United States First Lady to visit Malawi.
Mrs. Trump then visited First Lady Mutharika at the State House. The two had a productive discussion around the importance of ensuring education and resources are available for all children. The visit also included a cultural performance on the rooftop garden of the State House.
Mrs. Mutharika thanked Mrs. Trump for longstanding U.S. support for Malawian efforts to expand educational opportunities, ensure a healthier population and protect the rights of children. Mrs. Mutharika highlighted that Mrs. Trump’s visit to Malawi presented “a great opportunity to make Malawian children Be Best through education, through adequate health care support and stronger child rights protection.”
“Thank you to First Lady Mutharika and the many other key leaders in Malawi who made me feel very welcome today,” said Mrs. Trump. “This visit showed me the warmth and kindness of Malawi and the incredible efforts that support the growth of education for children. I look forward to returning to Malawi in the future.”
Mrs. Trump is on her maiden official trip to Africa, which started on October 1 with a visit to Ghana.