Vera Mlia Sheriff: Trevor Noah Foundation education grant winner
Meet Vera Mlia Sheriff, a professional writer and illustrator from Malawi. A YALI (Young African Leadership Initiative) fellow in 2018, her most recent achievement is successfully winning an education grant from the prestigious Trevor Noah Foundation. Vera, a champion for early childhood development in Malawi, shares her knowledge and experience of visual and artistic education and her vision to gamify early childhood education in Malawi.
Interview with Tendai Shaba:
T.S. Vera, all jokes aside; it is inspiring to see artists like Trevor Noah, a professional comedian, using his power and influence to positively impact our communities.
Yours is an inspiring story too. Considering the current COVID19 environment and how it is affecting artists worldwide, here you stand rewarded as one of the four grant winners (in Africa) from the Trevor Noah Foundation. Tell me, how does that feel?
V.M. I feel truly honoured and challenged to do even more with the level of responsibility this grant has brought.
T.S. You are an experienced professional writer and illustrator, why champion for early childhood development with your artistry?
V.M. Visual learning is essential. In our local publishing industry, I noticed a gap in picture books and print games for the Malawian child. So I began writing and illustrating since it has been my childhood dream to one day establish a world class publishing and animation studio that champions education for the African child.
I aligned the dream to early childhood development education because growing up I saw how exposure to educational materials that were presented as cartoons motivated me to learn more as opposed to materials that did not offer any visual illustrations.