U.S. first lady Melania Trump visited Malawi Thursday on the second leg of her four-nation tour of Africa.
Trump landed in the capital, Lilongwe, and went to a primary school where about 8,000 children are taught by just 75 teachers. She watched children taking part in an English lesson and later spoke with some of the teachers.
"Thank you for educating them to be best," she said, echoing the name of her child welfare program unveiled earlier this year.
The White House is donating school supplies to the children, including tote bags, chalk and soccer balls, and says the U.S. Agency for International Development is making a large donation of textbooks.
Most Malawians unaware of visit
Trump was greeted at the airport by her Malawian counterpart, Gertrude Maseko, who will later host Trump for a private tea at the state house.
The White House said Malawi was chosen as a destination because of the country's high poverty rate and the difficulties that children � especially girls � have in accessing education.
Most Malawians who spoke with VOA were unaware of the U.S. first lady's visit, but those who were said they hope this visit will be a message of goodwill and friendship between Malawi and the United States.
Despite 50 years of peaceful independence, Malawi remains one of the poorest nations in the world, with more than half of its 17 million population living below the poverty line and roughly 40 percent unable to read.
American aid programs remain important for meeting crucial needs in countries like Malawi. During her stop, the first lady is expected to highlight the Trump administration's support for vulnerable groups through the USAID program.
USAID funds for Africa were slated for significant cuts in the Trump administration's proposed budget, although the cuts have not been approved by Congress.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Trump was in Ghana, where she visited a former slave holding facility, Cape Coast Castle.
Kenya and Egypt are the next stops on her African tour, which follows her husband's reported disparaging comments about Africa and immigrants from the region.
Source: Voice of America