Balaka District Commissioner (DC) Emmanuel Bambe has lamented escalating levels of poverty and destitution, which he said are negatively contributing to rising cases of school dropouts, early and child marriages in the district.
Bambe made the remarks on Friday when he closed a four-day training targeting executives and members of Girls Empowerment Club at St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School.
The training was organized by the Marist Brothers of the Roman Catholic Church with funding from an Irish charity organization – Misean Cara – under the New Horizon Project.
The main objective of the training was to orient and train Girls Empowerment Club and their executive committee members on how to develop better and sustainable Girls Clubs that can take a primary role in empowering young women and girls to lead change.
Bambe expressed concern that the number of girls dropping out of school continues to rise in the district despite efforts from various stakeholders to arrest the problem.
“There is a quite a substantial number of girls and boys that drop out of school annually due to poverty in their families. In fact, some quarters say we are producing the most dropouts in the country,” he said.
The DC appealed to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to partner with government in providing financial and material support to enable needy children access education.
Bambe said there is need for government and other stakeholders to join hands in addressing the challenges that impede children from proceeding with their education in the district.
“It’s against this background that I would like to thank the Marist Brothers for coming up with this initiative that aims to address some of the challenges these children are facing. As a council, we pledge our commitment to working with them to ensuring that the number of children dropping out of school is significantly reduced,” stressed Bambe.
Girls Empowerment Club project coordinator Maggie Gundo said the major objective of the project is to empower underprivileged girls with business skills that can enable them make money for paying their own fees.
Gundo also disclosed that the project is advocating for readmission of girls who dropped out of schools due to pregnancy.
“Currently, we are working with 75 girls and boys who are members of the Girls Empowerment Club. You will note that we also have boys in the group; and, this is because we do realize that there are also boys who are struggling to access education because they parents are poor,” she said.
Girls Empowerment Club president Esther Khwisa said the business skills training they underwent is critical towards empowering young people to find solutions to various challenges in their life.
“We will impart the skills we have gained here on our club members back home. We are very grateful to the Marist Brothers for the training and we promise to utilize the skills gained to the fullest,” assured Khwisa.
Provincial of the Marist Brothers in Malawi, Brother Francis Jumbe, said they have adopted a rights-based approach to ensure that all girls are healthy, gain access to and complete education cycles, and are empowered equally in and through education.
“It is often said that to educate a girl is to educate the whole village. So, as Marist Brothers, we are keen to see all girls getting quality education and advancing their lives,” said Jumbe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :