African School Children



By Anderson Manning’s Gowa and Brown Ngalu.

At around 4 AM or thereabout, half-heartedly she leaves the comfort of her bedroom.

She wakes up, stretching her hands as she gives in to a prolonged yawning; welcoming another eventful day, capitalized by abuse, torture and a fog of insecurity of what will befall her.

Sadly that is her routine undertaking. On the other extreme end, her counterpart, the male child, is either busy absorbing academic texts in readiness for the unfolding day or is in deep slumber, visioning his brighter future.

Come evening, tired as she is, instead of catching a nap to melt out the weariness she has been subjected to after a 15 kilometer journey footing back and forth to the nearest school, she is busying herself into household chores.

The work eats her five or six hours after the sunset, sleeping around 22:00 if not 23:00 Hours daily.

Tiredly as she is, if there is a family at home with a baby, the responsibility of nursing the baby is thrown into her hands. She is the one to nurse the child as if she is the procreator.

Picture her 15 kilometer footing. Imagine the men she bumps into, asking her tender hand in marriage.

As the clock is ticking into years, she is strong.

As she is growing and eventually womanish signs protrude, she is flooded with a baptism of proposals from a swarm of men. For some time she is giving a cold shoulder to some.

But eventually, the catastrophic occurrences she is strolling through back home has a negative repercussion on her; the girl child cows in to the proposal getting. She gets married at a very tender age.

Her future is doomed while that of her colleague the male child is swimming in waters of success, salivating narratives of being the next authority after a baptism of excellent education at some tertiary education.

This is the pathetic reality that was the talk of the day on 20th October when a girl child’s calamities were illuminated to the gatherers at Enukweni in Mzimba.

To arrest this pathetic scenario Girls Not Bride International, a global movement with a network of over a thousand Non-Governmental Organizations set aside 20th 0ctober as the day to remember the girl child by amalgamating the many works NGO’s are undertaking to better the girl child’s life.

Speaking on the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child Deputy Minister of Gender, Children Disability and Social Welfare, Clement Mkumbwa is of the view that the deliberate effort to have a Girl Child Day is Malawi government’s number one priority.

“We are making very very good strands. We have made a lot of policies that favor the girl child,” Mkumbwa said.

On different calls from speakers to introduce skills education in primary school, Mkumbwa said he will look into the issue with the cabinet and the president and eventually do the needful of bringing skills education to every girl.

Girls not Bride, Malawi chapter chairperson Moses Mkandawire says under the umbrella of Girls of not bride, they have achieved a number of things and their leadership.

One of the top most achievements was to lobby with the government to change the law that govern the girl child. Eventually the law was changed as back then children were allowed to get married at a very tender age of less than 18 years.

“One of the key achievements was a review of the constitution to allow that a child should be recognized as such until they reach the age 18.

You may recall that children were allowed actually to marry even below the age of 18 even as far as 15 so long as there was parental consent and that was really a bottle neck to a number of our girls” says Mkandawire.

Moses Mkandawire

In order to let the law be known to the community, Girls not Bride is raising awareness for the masses out there to understand the importance of the law and the law itself.

“Because once they understand, it will be easier for the very same girls to report on the abuses that are taking place in the community. Those leaders, and parents encouraging this malpractice will be arrested basing on the law,” Mkandawire added.

For Girls Not Bride to achieve its objectives, it is raising awareness by influencing the girls to report to relevant authorities of any abuses they are facing with the view of creating a just world for the girl child.

On this particular day, among the many notable presentations was that of Inkosi Mthwalo, a traditional leader from Mzimba. Him could not mince words but sent guns blaring at various Civil society organizations for tapping money from donors for personal glorification at the expense of promoting various noble chores.

“You see the monies are benefiting, not the people but directors. These directors dupe donors claiming that they are helping people while not. Very few work with district councils to map feasible projects with us the authorities. The rest are cheaters,” angrily pronounced the Inkosi Mthwalo.

One of the key notable Civil Society gurus present, Moses Mkandawire admitted that he did not have control over what people say so long there was evidence perpetrators ought to be brought forward to arrest the vice.

“For us we can’t be evaluated by the very same people. So if they say there is corruption, let them bring evidence. I have worked for 26 years in NGOs but there is no proof of me being implicated in any shady dealings. What we are doing is to revamp the community.

But then that does not mean there we have clean NGO’s, no! there may be some amongst us who’re murky,” articulated Mkandawire.

Whatever the case, the narration of a girl child being subjected to inhumane treatment is far from over. But if what NGOs like Girls Not Bride’s effort are anything to go by, slowly but surely, the battle is being won. Sooner, the vice is going to be history in Malawi.

African School Children in the Classroom



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