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Global citizenship education and it's lasting impact

By introducing global citizenship education in primary schools, we can help to broaden children’s awareness and inspire them to become responsible, engaged citizens of the world. 

This was certainly the case for one of our Open Arms volunteers, Isabel, who learnt about Malawi when she was at primary school. 

“I first learnt about Malawi when I was about 7 years old, when a lady came in to do an assembly.  I remember pinning underwear on a washing line that the lady was going to take out to Malawi and being very excited to be picked to stand at the front.  We learnt about global citizenship and made a big blue poster with a globe on, with cut out people holding hands around the world.


"I still remember that assembly today, so it had a long-lasting impact on me, as well as setting a base for me and my peers to learn in a more diverse and socially appropriate way”. 

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“I think my main motivator was my dad, who always encouraged me to see the world. When I was fourteen, we visited Malawi and volunteered with a charity on several projects to help the community. A few years later, I got in contact with the person who ran one of the projects and she was so welcoming and keen to have me back! Within a few weeks of emails, I was back in Malawi and had the most incredible time. I worked on a project to educate young girls and boys on how to deal with emotions, relationships, and bodily changes, with the aim of inspiring a future generation to be equal.”

“My visit to Malawi was quite honestly life changing. The first time I visited I was shielded from quite a lot, but this last time I was fully immersed into Malawi culture and day to day life.  I found that people with so little can be so happy and genuinely grateful for what they have. It changed my mindset a lot on how to spend my time and money.”

“On my flight home I spoke to a lady who lived in Malawi growing up, but now lives in the UK.  I explained how I wanted to stay in touch with Malawi from the UK and maybe do some volunteering. She told me to look up Open Arms Malawi when I was home.

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 “On my journey home from Heathrow, I told my mum who started giggling, explaining how Open Arms Malawi was based in our hometown and that the lady who did the assembly when I was at primary school was from the charity.  How small the world seemed at that moment, despite travelling for 24 hours just to get into my own bed!”

“I reached out to Open Arms Malawi who were super welcoming and couldn’t wait to have me on board. I’ve been volunteering with them now for the past 4 months and can’t wait to see where it takes me. Since visiting Malawi I’ve realised life is short and precious and the world is big and wide.  I’m enjoying the work I’m doing and I’m now planning to visit Open Arms in Malawi later this year.”

Introducing global citizenship education into primary schools is a great way to help children develop a sense of belonging to the wider world and an understanding of how their actions can have an impact.

If you are interested in bringing global citizenship into your school, through learning about Malawi and the work of Open Arms, we now have a range of resources and lesson plans for primary and secondary schools.  To discuss the possibility of a school visit from Open Arms, please get in contact with a member of our team at

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