I remember the school desks we had in primary school. They could be opened and used for storing books, pens and those colourful erasers that smelled nice. We would all fasten pictures and drawings on the inside of our desk to make it more personal – it was our own sacred little space in school.
A school desk fills more functions than being comfortable and helping to keep order by giving every child their designated space to sit in in the classroom. A school desk is of huge support when learning how to write. The hard surface, the position of the hands – remember how ugly those first A’s of yours were and how difficult it was to write them? Now imagine if you had to lay down on the cold ground or dirty sand with a soggy notebook on top of your backpack while learning this so valuable skill.
Ideally, there would be school desks for all children, but there are many reasons to why this is not the case, poverty being the main one.
So if you need to choose, you to make sure that at least all first and second graders get access to school desks. And that’s what UNICEF is doing in the Child Friendly Schools initiative.
Because just as I would take my school desk for granted when I was a kid, it is indeed an essential tool. For supporting the children in learning how to write, and for their growing backs to stay heathy.
The photo above is from a school I visited today in Gaza. I can’t wait to show you more photos.
I just came back to Maputo after another four days in the field, by the way. Again, completely exhausted and overwhelmed with impressions – I absolutely adore this job.