"The Last Word" host Lawrence O'Donnell went to Malawi this summer to help a classroom -- and raise awareness about an acute problem plaguing children and teachers in the impoverished nation. There is nowhere to sit but the dirt floor. Or cracked cement floors, for the nicer schools.
"A teacher asking for chairs in Malawi is asking too much," he lamented.
The teachers would be happy to start with chairs. Desks would be an even bigger luxury.
One of the classes O'Donnell found had about 120 students and no classroom. They studied outside.
O'Donnell and MSNBC launched a partnership with UNICEF, announced on his show this week, to help the education crisis in Malawi. From a network news release:
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 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.
The program, called K.I.N.D. (Kids in Need of Desks) aims to provide 46,000 desks (each accommodating two children) that will be available to 224,000 Malawian students. The cost per child is $24.