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Aspects of Malawi 5: At work in Malawi

To give children a glimpse of what it is like to work in Malawi.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To give children a glimpse of what it is like to work in Malawi.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need four readers.
  • A bag of fairtrade sugar from whichever supermarket is local to your school (see below, point 4).
  • Some examples of craft items from Africa, if possible (see below, point 5).
  • Photographs are available to download to accompany this assembly.


  1. Just like in this country, there are many different types of jobs in Malawi. People work in factories, hospitals and offices. People build roads, empty dustbins and drive buses. Here are four kinds of work that many people do in Malawi.
  2. Reader 1:  My name is David and I am a fisherman on Lake Malawi. We fish all night and sleep all day. In the evening, I put my canoe on Samuel’s motorboat and he takes me and the other fishermen out to where the fish are.
    I let my canoe down into the water and wait for the fish to be attracted to the light on the back of the canoe.

    I empty my net into the bottom of the canoe.

    When I get back to the shore at sunrise, I empty the fish out of the bottom of the boat and lay them out on the tables to dry in the sun.
    Fishing - drying the catch

    Fishing - drying the catch

    Show full sized image >>


    It is very hard work and I do not see my family.
  3. Reader 2:  My name is Hansen and I am a farmer. I grow maize, which you call sweetcorn, to feed my family and sell at the market.

    I have to work hard every day, even when I am sick, otherwise the crop will be ruined and my family will go hungry.

    It is hard to get enough water for the corn to grow in the dry season.

    My neighbour’s crop was damaged by an elephant trampling on it last week. I don’t know what I would do if that happened to me.
  4. Reader 3:  My name is Lucius and I work on a sugar plantation. It is called Sucoma, which stands for the Sugar Corporation of Malawi.

    The sugar that we grow is sold at a fairtrade price to (your local supermarket) in the UK. (Show the bag of sugar.)

    That means that I get paid a fair wage for the work that I do and I can afford for my children to go to school.
  5. Reader 4:  My name is Benjy and I am a craftsman. I find wire and buy beads to make key rings and necklaces for the tourists. (Show some examples if possible.)

    It takes a long time to make each item. When I have enough, I take them to the tourist market and lay them out carefully on a cloth.

    Many other craftspeople make beautiful objects to sell too, so I have to persuade the tourists to buy mine. Only then can I get food and clothes for my family.
  6. A big thank you to our four workers from Malawi. I wonder which of those jobs you would most like to do.

    Who would like to be a fisherman?
    Who would like to be a farmer?
    Who would like to work on the sugar plantation?
    Who would like to make craft items to sell to tourists?

Time for reflection

Take time to imagine what it might be like to work in Malawi.

It is very hard to earn enough money to live on in Malawi.

Let us be thankful for the jobs that our friends and family do.

As we consider the country of Malawi, let us open our minds to learn from how the people live and work and play.

Let us open our hearts to appreciate all that we have.

Let us open our imaginations to help the hopes of the people of Malawi become realities.


‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)

Publication date: January 2010   (Vol.12 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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