Paulo from Malawi. Exploring the Lives of People in
R9365 Preschools Resource
Pre-school Educators’ Resource
The story of
Paulo Phiri from
Activities for 3-5
About this booklet
This booklet has been produced for Pre-school educators who wish to incorporate a global perspective to their education
programmes with young children.
In this booklet, we include background information for Pre-school educators, information on Trócaire’s work in Malawi and
activities for young children to help them to explore aspects of the lives of individual children in Malawi. Through the materials,
it is hoped that children will see similarities and differences between the lives of these children and their own lives and begin to
appreciate the diversity which exists in our world.
We profile Paulo, whose mother Clemintina is a member of an organisation supported by Trócaire called Women’s Voice, which
empowers women to become active members of their community and to break the cycle of domestic violence.
To encourage Pre-schools to use the activities we are inviting Pre-school educators to submit the children’s work for the
Pre-school Trócaire Better World Award. Every child who participates will receive a certificate and there are awards for groups
whose entries are of special merit.
Additional copies of this resource are available from Trócaire free of charge.
I would like ___________ extra copies of the Pre-school resource on Malawi.
Pre-school Address: ______________________________________________
e-mail address: _______________________ tel no: ____________________
Please send to Trócaire, 9 Cook Street, Cork or to Trócaire, 50 King Street, Belfast BT1 6AD
Trócaire Better World Award for Pre-schools
REMEMBER! As you go through the stories and activities with the children, remember that
you can enter their work for the Trócaire Better World Award.
The Trócaire Better World Award for Pre-schools recognises the work undertaken by Preschool children on the theme of this booklet. Pre-schools are invited to submit entries
by groups of children or whole classes.
Here are some suggestions:
Photos: Take photos of the children’s work or of the children working on activities,
playing games, miming, etc.
Artwork: Send in artwork, construction or posters the children have completed. *
Video: record the children carrying out role-plays, doing art and craft work, talking
about what they have learnt.
*Please note: It is not necessary to send in displays or all of the artwork – some may be
too large or too cumbersome to send by post. Simply photograph the work and send
with your entry. Photographing and video recording children requires parental permission.
Each child will receive a Trócaire Better World Award certificate and a Trócaire Better World Award sticker.
In addition, Pre-schools whose entries are of special merit will receive the following:
A batik, depicting women at work, for the Pre-school
A fair-trade hamper
Watoto, Children from Around the World and Ilenia from Colombia – supplementary materials to Watoto
Please send your entries together with a list of the children who undertook
the work to Trócaire, 9 Cook Street, Cork or to Trócaire, 50 King Street, Belfast
BT1 6AD by Friday April 27th 2007.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON MALAWI
alawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. It is one of the poorest countries in
Africa and has been devastated by poverty, famine and AIDS. 90% of the population are
farmers who try to feed their families on tiny plots of land. In a normal year, millions struggle
to get enough to eat. Climatic extremes of droughts and floods resulting in poor harvests
have meant that many families are reduced to eating one meal a day, usually a plate of nsima
– a starchy food made of maize flour and water. The country is in need of food aid every year.
Most people are locked in a cycle of hunger that leads to other problems. After a poor harvest
many leave the family to go find work elsewhere and women are often forced to turn to
prostitution to survive. This movement of people increases the spread of AIDS. When harvest
time comes around, people are so desperate they can’t afford to put any seeds aside to plant the
following year and the cycle of hunger starts again. In 2005, Malawi experienced the worst harvest in
a decade. 40% of the population were in need of emergency food aid. It will take years to recover.
It is estimated that 14% of the population are infected with HIV/AIDS. Younger women are particularly affected. Four times as
many women as men in the 15 to 29 years age group are affected by AIDS. This reflects cultural practices of older men marrying
young girls and also the widespread abuse of young women in schools and elsewhere. The problems of AIDS, poverty and
famine are interlinked. Many family providers are either too ill to work, or are taking care of family members. Half a million
children have been orphaned. There is a shortage of medical staff due to migration, a lack of education and also because of AIDS.
Malawi has just one doctor per 100, 000 people. A national programme to tackle the problem was launched in 2004 and there is
evidence that this is having some positive effects, with the prevalence dropping slightly in urban areas.
Many children, particularly girls, are withdrawn from school to look after sick relatives, to carry out household chores or to earn
an income. Three times as many girls as boys have no formal education and only 30% of girls and 40% of boys go to primary
school. The Millennium Development Goals as agreed by the world’s leaders in 2000, recognise both education and gender
disparities as being key to addressing poverty in Malawi and at global level.
(Sources: UNICEF and UNDP)
Area:118,484 sq km (20% of surface covered by lakes)
Currency:1 Malawi Kwacha = 100 Tambala
Religion: Christianity: 75%, Islam: 15%
Languages: English and Chichewa (both official languages)
Life Expectancy at birth: 37.8 years (Ireland: 76.9 years)
GDP per capita: US$580 (Ireland: US$36,360)
Poverty ranking: Ranked 165th poorest of 177 countries
School Enrolment: Primary 79%; in the final year of primary school only 25% of students are female.
Literacy: 62% of the population 15 years and older can write. 76% of men and 49% of women are literate.
BRIEF HISTORY OF MALAWI
Malawi gained independence from Britain in 1964. For 30 years the country was ruled by a totalitarian president, Kamuzu Banda.
The people suffered human rights abuses and repression under his rule. International and domestic pressure led to the first
multi-party elections in 1994. Bakili Muluzi was elected president, and there were accusations of widespread corruption during
his time in office. President Bingu Wa Mutharika took office in 2004, vowing to take a zero-tolerance approach to corruption.
These difficulties seem to have been reduced and international support for Malawi has increased.
WHAT TRÓCAIRE IS DOING
The empowerment of women and the elimination of gender inequalities is a distinct focus of Trócaire’s work in the developing
world, particularly in emergencies. Gender inequality is a major source of suffering and injustice. Often, a lot of the consequences
of chronic poverty fall squarely on the shoulders of women and girls. In Malawi, 90% of the population is rural and most of the
farmers are women. Rural households headed by women are the poorest in the country. Women have limited access to training
and credit. Trócaire supports local Non Governmental Organisations in Malawi. Many of them are community groups where
women are given skills training and education. This enables women to support each other and gain confidence in knowing their
rights and entitlements. Trócaire also supports innovative agriculture programmes, which distribute seeds for more drought
resistant crops. Farmers are trained in farming methods and can sell surplus crops for cash. Many families have benefited from
Global Gifts of tools, seeds and goats. Malawi is a priority country for Irish Aid.
Activities on the poster
Photo of Paulo with his sister Judy: What do you see in the photo? What do you think
the children are thinking about? Where might they come from? What is the little girl
holding in her hand? What games do you think they like to play with the ball?
Tell the children that the boy is called Paulo and he is with his sister Judy. He is five
years old and comes from Malawi in Africa.
Photo of Paulo’s family: Do you recognise anyone in this photo? Tell the children that
this is Paulo’s family. How many brothers and sisters does he have? How many of them might be
older/younger than him? What is making his baby sister laugh? What would you like to discover about Paulo’s life?
Read Paulo’s story to the children.
Paulo (pronounced Pow-lo) is 5 years old. Paulo lives in Katamoyo Village in a country
called Malawi in Africa. There are six children in his family. His older brother Richard is
married to Felida and they have a new baby called Bernadette. His three older sisters are
called Murine, Caroline and Judy and he has a little sister called Joanna. She is only eight
months old and Paulo loves the way she giggles when he plays with her and dances
when he sings to her.
Paulo’s mother, Clemintina works very hard to care for her family and his father has
moved away to find work. Paulo misses his father very much. Clemintina has made bricks
to build a new house for her family. There is no roof on the place they live in at the
moment but their new home will have a galvanised iron roof.
Paulo’s three older sisters all go to school but always find the time to help their mum by collecting water and wood,
sweeping and cooking for the family. Caroline’s favourite subject in school is maths and she loves making dolls from
clay. Paulo goes to the local nursery school from 7.00 to 10.00 in the morning where he learns songs and poems,
listens to stories, plays games and draws lots of pictures. His favourite part of the day is when he plays football with his
sister Judy and their friends after school.
Last year, many crops didn’t grow because the land was too dry after it failed to rain for a long time. It
did eventually rain very, very heavily but that just flooded the lands and destroyed any crops that
were left. The shortage of food means that Paulo’s family only eat one or two meals a day of nsima or
bananas. Nsima is a porridge made from maize. Paulo doesn’t have a lot of energy on the days that
there is little food in the house.
There is a group in the village that helps out families like Paulo’s. They gave Paulo’s mum a loan so that
she could buy a goat. She is hoping to buy more so that she can have milk and cheese for her family
and sell the goat’s kids to other families.
Paulo goes to bed at 7.00 every night and says his prayers. He thinks of his father and wonders what he is
doing and prays that he is safe. He thanks God that he has his mum to take such good care of him and
prays that they will always have enough food to eat.
Daily life: How is Paulo’s day like yours? How is it different? What is his favourite part of the day? Why?
What is your favourite part of the day? Why? Paulo thinks of his father and mother as he goes to sleep.
Who/what do you think about when you go to bed at night?
Family life: How many people are in Paulo’s family? Paulo’s mum and sisters are very busy? Do you
remember all the different things they have to do everyday? How might Richard and Paulo help them?
How would it feel to have to walk a long way to collect water for your home every day like Paulo’s sisters?
School: Paulo does lots of fun things at nursery school? Do you do anything similar at Pre-school?
Leisure activities: What does Paulo and his family like to do in their spare time? Do you think you would
enjoy doing the things they do?
Food: What type of food is eaten by Paulo’s family? Do you think you would be happy with only one or
two meals every day? How would you feel?
ACTIVITIES FOR PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN
Personal and social development
Motor skills development
It is important to be sensitive to the home situation of the children you
work with during this activity.
You will need: pictures of different types of homes from around the world,
lego, building blocks, lollipop sticks, clay, straw, márla, cardboard,
polystyrene, tin foil, glue, paint, etc.
To do: Invite the children to locate Ireland on the map/globe. Invite them
to locate any other countries they have visited. Explain that they are
going to learn about some children from Malawi. Locate Malawi on the
map/globe and explain that it is in Africa.Talk about how people from
Ireland would get to Malawi: boat, plane. Explain that by plane would be
the quickest. Discuss the differences in shape and size between the two
countries. Explore the fact that Malawi is surrounded by other countries
while Ireland is surrounded by the sea only because it is an island.
To do: In Paulo’s story we found out that he will soon have a new home.
What will his new home be made of? In what way is it similar/different to
your home? What are the sounds, smells, activities, objects and people that
make somewhere a home? Invite the children to talk about the types of
homes they live in.What materials were used to build their houses? Display
pictures of homes from around the world, e.g. igloos, mud homes, houses
on stilts, etc.Talk about the materials that were used to build each house
and why they were chosen.
Invite the children to draw or construct a model of their homes or of a
different type of home from around the world using the materials listed
above. Display their work in a ‘Homes Around the World’ exhibition for all to
People in Malawi speak Chichewa and English.Teach the children the
following phrases in Chichewa:
You will need: two A3 charts, pictures of different
activities that involve water and some that don’t, e.g.
washing, cooking, reading, swimming, driving, etc.
You will need: a map or globe
Hello – moni
Goodbye – Ndapita
How are you? – Muli bwanji?
I am fine – Ndili bwino
Please – Chonde
Thank you (very much) – Zikomo (Kwambiri)
What is your name? – Dzina lanu ndani?
My name is ___________ - Dzina langa ndi ___________
Sorry – Pepani
Friend - Abwenzi
It is important to be
sensitive to the family
situation of the children
you work with during
You will need: photo
of Paulo and his family,
a photocopy of the
border contained on
the back page for each
child, sheets of coloured A4 copy card, crayons.
To do: Display the photo of Paulo’s family to the children and ask them to
recall the activities they do each day. Discuss the roles of each family
member and the way in which each role is important and valuable. Invite
the children to talk about their own families and the different roles that
each person plays in their home.
Encourage different children to act out different family activities/roles, e.g.
cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, reading stories, going to school, going
to work, etc.The other children in the class must guess what the activity is
and what family member is doing it. In order to avoid gender
stereotyping, elicit from the children which roles can be played by both
male and female family members.
To make ‘My Family’ picture frames, photocopy the back page of this
resource for each child and cut out the centre so that only the ornate
border remains. Paste the border onto a sheet of A4 copy card. Ask the
children to talk about the different images on the border, which represent
Paulo’s family. Invite the children to draw a picture of their own family in
the centre of the card and to colour in the images on the border. Stick all
the picture frames into a scrapbook to make a book about ‘Our Families’.
To do: In Paulo’s story we found out that his sisters have
to go a long way every day to collect water for their
home.What do you think they used the water for? What
activities do you use water for at home/at Pre-school?
Distribute various pictures of water and non-water activities
to the children. Invite them to sort the pictures into their
appropriate groups.The children can then paste the pictures
onto the correct charts with the following headings:
We need water to……..
We don’t need water to…….
Ask the children to imagine how it would feel to go without water for a day.
How can we make sure that we don’t waste our water? How can we keep
our water clean for ourselves and the plants, animals and fish that need it
Invite various children to mime the following activities for the other
children who must guess the way in which the water is being wasted or
Running a tap while washing your teeth
Taking a long bath instead of a shower
Leaving a tap dripping
Filling up a large kettle for one cup of tea
Throwing rubbish into the sea at the seaside, etc.
You will need: grass seeds, yoghurt cartons labelled with a child’s
name on each, damp soil/potting compost, water, and old/plastic
To do: Give each of the children a yoghurt pot with their name on it,
some of the damp soil/potting compost, grass seed and a teaspoon.
Invite the children to use the teaspoon to put some of the soil into the
yoghurt carton. They then put some grass seed into their carton. Next
get them to cover the seeds with a little soil/compost. Place these on
the window ledge. Encourage the children to check the pots each day
to see when the grass emerges. Remind them to keep the soil damp by
pouring a little water into the soil/compost. Talk about what was
needed to make the grass grow: light, water and soil. Explain that all
plants need these things to grow. If one is missing the seeds/grass will
dry out and die. Talk about animals that eat grass.
Talk about things that we eat that grow.
Recipe: Mbatata Biscuits from Malawi
Involve the children in preparing the ingredients for cooking.They could
also mix and knead the ingredients and enjoy the biscuits during snack
You will need: $ cups of mashed mbatata (sweet potato), 4 cup of
milk, 4 tbs of melted margarine, 14 cups of sifted flour, 2 tsp of baking
powder, 2 tsp salt.
To do: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Mix the sweet potatoes, milk,
and melted margarine and beat well. Sift and stir in the remaining
ingredients.Turn onto a floured board, knead lightly and roll out 2 an
inch thick. Cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits on a
greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
As a follow-up to this activity, put on a display of the food eaten in
Malawi, e.g., maize (cobs and maize flour), bananas, mangoes, potatoes,
kidney beans and butter beans.
People at Work
You will need: poster showing the
women from Malawi working on
the land, costumes and props from
the dress-up corner depicting
different jobs, pictures of people at
work, e.g., houseparent, teacher,
carpenter, Garda, cleaner, farmer, etc.
To do: Invite the children to talk about what they see in the poster.
Who is in this picture? What are they doing? Why do you think the
woman has her babies with her? How would you describe the land?
Why do you think it is so dry? Have you ever seen land like this in
Ireland or another country you visited? Do you think crops will grow
on this land? Why/why not?
Explain to the children that the photo shows girl and boy twins
Matilda and Silvestre Fernando, 14 months with their mother Grace
and grandmother Paulina. Grace and Paulina spend long days working
very hard on the farm and because there is nobody to mind the twins
for her, Grace has to keep them with her all day. It is very hot most of
the time in Malawi while at other times it rains very heavily. Would you
like to work in weather like this?
Elicit from the children some of the jobs they see people doing in their
community. Using the costumes in the dress-up corner or some props
you or the children brought in from home, invite the children to take
on the roles of different workers in the community. What sort of work
do they do? What is a typical day like for them? Do they like their job?
Why/why not? Is their job similar/different to those of Grace and
Paulina or Paulo’s mother?
Once the costumes have been removed, stick one of the pictures
showing people at work on the back of each of the children so they
cannot see it. Invite the children to sit around in a circle. One by one,
the children come to the centre of the circle and ask the other children
questions about the job they have been assigned, until they figure out
what their job is. Encourage children of both sexes to take on various
roles in order to avoid stereotyping.
Games Children Play
You will need: poster showing Johan
(pronounced Yohan) playing with Lucia and
her friends, paper bags and string.
To do: Discuss what is happening in the photo
with the children? What are the children doing?
Where might they be? Do they look like they’re having
fun? Explain to the children, that sometimes children in
Malawi do not have a proper ball to play with so they make their
own.Show the children how to make a ball using the paper bags and
string as follows:Take a large paper bag or a few small bags and
squeeze them into the shape of a ball.Wrap string around the “ball”
several times and in several directions to hold it in place.
Make a number of these and allow the children to play
with them informally. Next tell the children Johan’s story .
Johan is two years old and lives with his mother Rose and his cousin
Lucia, who is six. While her Auntie Rose works in the field planting,
weeding and collecting wood, Lucia minds Johan. She brings him out
to play with her friends and their favourite adventures happen
beside the river near their village. Lucia carries Johan there on her
back by wrapping a blanket around him and tying it in front so that
he won’t fall off. Johan loves playing at the river when the weather is
really hot and dry.The heat dries the water up and so he gets to play
in the sand with the other small children. Lucia and her friends play
‘piggy in the middle’ and chasing games while keeping an eye on
Johan in the sand.
1. How is Johan’s life like yours? How is it different?
2. What games do Johan and Lucia like to play? Do you like to play
any of those games? What other games do you like to play?
Introduce Lucia’s version of ‘piggy in the middle’ to the children. In
this game, the aim is to hit the person in the middle with a ball made
from paper and then they are out. If the person in the middle catches
the ball instead of being hit, they remain there. As a person is
knocked out, another joins in. Explain that for safety reasons they are
only allowed to hit the legs.
Tell the children about some of the games you played as a child e.g.
ball games such as “Donkey”,“Queen-I-O”. Take them outside and play
a range of ball games with them using their new paper bag balls
Animals from Malawi
You will need: Activity Sheet – for very young children, cut the sheet
into three sections so that there is just one animal in each.Then
enlarge each drawing and introduce each animal one at a time.
To do: Give each child a copy of the Activity Sheet. Invite them to
talk about the animal(s). What is it called? Where does it live? What
is the weather like where it lives? How many legs has it? What
colour is it in real life? What does it eat? Use the information below
to add to the children’s knowledge:
African elephant: the largest living land animal.
Elephants eat grass, leaves and small branches
and are very intelligent animals.
Lion: These are the only cats that live in groups,
which are called prides. Female lions are the
pride’s primary hunters and prey upon antelopes, zebras and other
Zebra: No animal has a more distinctive coat
than the zebra, with each zebra’s stripes as
unique as fingerprints.They are social
animals that like to spend time in herds,
grazing together on grass mainly. Zebras must
be constantly wary of preying lions and
Hippopotamus: the third largest living land animal after the
elephant and the rhinoceros. Hippos spend the day in the water then
go onto land at night to feed.They eat fruit,
grass, leaves and vegetables.
Antelope: This is the name of a large group of
animals that have hoofs and hollow horns –
they look like deer. Antelopes like to eat grass
and other vegetation.
Invite the children to join the dots and to
colour in the animals. Ask them to draw a river or lake near or
around the hippopotamus. Put some small branches in the
elephant’s trunk. Draw some grass near the zebra. Encourage the
children to add to the scene e.g. drawing the sky, the sun, trees etc.
Go to www.nationalgeographic.com
for more information.
R9365 Preschools Resource
The following resources are available from
Trocaire Resource Centres
Watoto, Children from Around the World
Trocaire, 2001 Price €25.00/£20.00
A resource for Pre-school educators. The pack
features children from the Philippines, Bolivia,
Kenya and Honduras. Contains 16 A3 colour
photos, 4 booklets with 4 A3 colour photos in
each, activities, and music tape.
Ilenia from Colombia
Trocaire 2004 €6.00/£4.50
A resource for Pre-school Educators. These
supplementary materials to Watoto can also
be used as stand alone activities. They tell the
story of Ilenia from Colombia and contain 8
A3 colour photos with activities.
Watoto, Children from Around the World &
Ilenia from Colombia combined
Trocaire, 2001/4 €30.00/£20.00
Dansa from Ethiopia
Trocaire 2005 Free
Downloadable from Trocaire website
A resource for Pre-school educators. It tells
the story of Dansa, a 6-year-old girl from
Ethiopia. Activities include a game, a recipe,
constructing a mud home, drawing, planting
seeds, and exploring how coffee is grown.
Julio from Nicaragua
Trócaire 2006 Free
Downloadable from Trócaire website
A resource for Pre-school educators which
tells the story of Julio, a three-year-old boy
from Nicaragua who works on a dump. It also
tells the story of Katia who works in the
market with her mother and Miguel who sells
cashew nuts on the streets. Activities include:
sorting and making things from waste; role
plays on greetings in Spanish, selling in the
market and on the street; a traditional recipe;
animals and birds from Nicaragua and art
and craft activities.
Age 3-6 Oxfam, UK, 1995 Price €6.00 / £4.50
each, set of 4: €21.63/ £15.00
Series of 4 titles: Come Home with Us! / Come
and Ride with Us, Come and Eat with Us! /
Come and Play with Us!
This lift the flap series is designed to help
children to see the connections between
their own lives and those of children in other
Age 4-7 Frances Lincoln, 1996-2000 Price:
€9.00 / £6.50 each
Series of 5 titles: A is for Africa/ B is for Brazil /
C is for China / I is for India / W is for World.
Features photographic images of life around
Around the World Series: Clothes,
Festivals, Food, Games, Homes, Schools,
Heinemann Library 2002, €15.00/£12.00 each
Each book in the series explores an aspect of
life that young children will recognise. It
explains how people
around the world
have needs and
www.trocaire.org common and
Trócaire Kids Website
how these can
tains fact sheets, stories
be similar in
around the world and
ivities and ideas for
of the world.
exploring global theme
Maynooth, Co. Kildare.
Tel: (01) 629 3333
Fax: (01) 629 0661
e-mail: [email protected]
12 Cathedral St., Dublin 1.
Tel/Fax: (01) 874 3876
e-mail: [email protected]
9 Cook St., Cork.
Tel: (021) 427 5622
Fax: (021) 4271874
e-mail: [email protected]
« Written by Beth Hickey» « Artwork by Olga Tiernan»
« Photography by Noel Gavin/AllPix» « Design and Print: Genprint »
« Thanks to Karen Butler, Newbury House Pre-School, Cork who advised on the materials»
50 King St., Belfast, BT1 6AD.
Tel: (028) 9080 8030
Fax: (028) 9080 8031
e-mail: [email protected]