Two smiling students sit side by side at one of the brand new desks delivered to Mkombezi Primary School in Malawi's southern Mangochi region by Kids In Need of Desks (K.I.N.D.)


A long-running campaign created by UNICEF USA and MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell is providing children in Malawi with the support they need to keep learning and thriving.

A simple desk can make all the difference.

In Malawi, more than half of all students do not have a desk or a chair. Instead, they attend class by sitting on the floor or on the ground.

The Kids in Need of Desks (K.I.N.D.) campaign, launched in 2010 by UNICEF USA and MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, aims to provide that missing piece of classroom equipment that can make all the difference for young learners.

Since then, the program has raised more than $43 million and benefitted more than 1.1 million students across the country.

Desks help students succeed in school 

"The desks have an immediate impact of improving the learning environment," says Annie Maston, Girls' Education Officer at UNICEF Malawi. "Teachers in the targeted schools have reported improved participation during the lessons for both girls and boys, but more for the girls. Girls do not have to worry about standing up and sitting down again when answering questions, which can be challenging when sitting on the floor."

Schools with desks report increased attendance rates and higher retention among girls, who often skip school when they are menstruating, rather than sit on the classroom floor.

Penmanship improves too — it's more efficient to write on a desk than on a paper balanced on a knee or spread out on the floor.

"For the teachers," Maston added, "the desks make it easier to move around the classroom when teaching and providing individualized support for each student." 

Scholarships for girls

K.I.N.D. also provides secondary school scholarships to Malawian girls most in danger of missing out on an education — girls like Happiness, 15, who was able to stay in school thanks to a scholarship provided through the K.I.N.D. Fund.

Asked what would happen to her if school fees were not paid, Happiness replied, "Here in Malawi, girls marry at early ages. So at 15, maybe I would have been married by now."

The K.I.N.D. campaign continues to provide students with the support they need to keep learning and thriving. Support this effort to help children in Malawi reach their full potential. Donate today.

Desks and Scholarships Can Change a Child's Life

A smiling boy speaks happily with an adult
Chinu Rajbongshi 11, writing a poem on the board. Kusura Govt. Primary School, Kalampur, Bangladesh. Nov. 19 2008