Tennis star Roger Federer has urged Malawi politicians to lay more emphasis on early education of children.
Federer ranked as the second best male tennis player in the world, said early childhood development is crucial as it empowers children to reach their fullest potential.
He was speaking when launched a new childcare centre at Lundu village, 10 kilometres west of the capital Lilongwe, funded by his foundation.
Federer , who is visiting Malawi for the first time , said the country needs more funds to support development of children.
“Too many children are waiting for good pre-schools and early chilhood development centres,” the 17-time Grand Slam champ told officals and villagers at the opening.
Federer predicted that his pre-school center would be a “pre-school of excellence and an important milestone” in the lives of children.
He urged politicians to do more for early education.
“We need everybody and in particular the government of Malawi on board. Malawi needs more efforts and more funds,” he said.
Malawi Vice President Saulos Chilima expressed appreciation to Federer for “complementing the Government’s efforts in investing in this important area of the future of our children.”
Chilima said Malawi has “special interest” in early childhood development program.
“Government is determined to propel the ECD agenda forward mainly because children who benefit from early childhood development services tend to do well in school and, generally, have more advanced social skills,” said Chilima.
Chilima said children are the future of any country and appealed to more development partners, philanthropists and other stakeholders to support Malawi government’s effort by investing heavily in the program.
Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Patricia Kaliati said as many as 1.4 million of the country’s children had no access to pre-school facilities.
Kaliati praised Federer’s work, saying her country needed to “mobilise all fathers to invest in these children rather than breed more children who lack support.”
Federer’s foundation has been working in Malawi since 2011 and has already built 80 pre-schools across the country.
About $13.5 million have been invested into the project which Federer hopes would provide support to about 150,000 Malawian children by 2021.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :