Read Catherine’s story. She is a student at a primary school in Malawi and is going to tell you about her day.


My name is Catherine and I am 11 years old. I live with my mother and father, three sisters and brother.

In the morning I wake very early as the sunrises to go to the lake to fetch water. My mother uses this throughout the day to cook with and to heat for our bathes. After that, I help my sisters sweep our compound before we get ready for school. On some days we are lucky to have groundnuts (peanuts) for breakfast, other days we go to school without food.

We walk to school together at 07.30. Before lessons start, we also have to help clean the school grounds. Each day different year groups do this. Then, before we go in to class, we line up and sing the National Anthem.

We have lessons in many subjects including English, maths, history, geography, life skills, ChiChewa and social studies. Some classes have more than 70 students in them, and not everyone classroom has desks either.

After school I go home and we have lunch. We always have nsima, this is our staple food of Malawi. It can be made with cassava or maize flour. Most days it is served with a cabbage relish and then either beans or eggs. If we can afford to, we have chicken or fish. This is usually once or twice a month.

When I finish lunch I have to help my mother. Sometimes I have to help with washing the clothes, collecting more water or firewood for cooking, or preparing food for dinner. I then try and study before it gets too dark. We are lucky though, we have a little solar light which I use with my siblings.

The sun goes down by 18:00 so the evenings are long but I go to bed early as I have a busy day ahead of me again.


Can you write a Dear Diary entry about your day?