It’s no secret that Rihanna has a heart of gold. She’s been honored numerous times for her outstanding humanitarian work, but for a recent trip to the southeastern African country of Malawi, she decided to keep her presence on the down low, until now.
In January, the pop star visited Malawi not as a celebrity, but as the founder of the Clara Lionel Foundation and Global Ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education, to teach impoverished elementary-school children math in their classrooms (as well as to teach some simple reading exercises and to hang around the playground). Living in one of the poorest countries in the world — one teacher is often responsible for supervising about 100 children — a very small percentage of students in Malawi are fortunate enough to complete secondary school without being forced to drop out due to poverty, Rihanna’s organization explains in a video that documented the trip.
“It’s such a pity that they have to drop out, because they are so smart,” Rihanna says in the video. “Everybody’s learning together and learning at the same pace it seems. It’s sad that has to end for some of them, because they could probably do so much if they had the resources to continue and complete.” The experience of her being there was also enhanced by the unique musical tricks she witnessed the students using. “I love that they learn in melody, that’s like my favorite thing,” she continued. “Because kids, they adopt melody really, really quickly. And so if you can use that as a learning tool, I think that’s the most brilliant, brilliant thing.”
The main goal of Rihanna’s trip was to persuade world leaders to commit $3.1 billion to the Global Partnership for Education, so that the organization could continue to embark on their fulfilling programs around the world. On Instagram, she reflected on her trip when news of it broke: “My time in Malawi was so inspiring! Working with my @ClaraLionelFdn to improve the lives of students globally, alongside @GPforEducation.”