Girls Empowerment Network (GENET), a component under a project called Improving Secondary Education in Malawi (ISEM) funded by the European Union, on Friday put 40 needy girl students from Chibavi CDSS on bursary and distributed twenty bicycles to twenty among them who walk long distances to school.
Speaking after presenting the bicycles, GENET Project Coordinator, Tawonga Kachiunda Phiri, said ISEM conducted a study on factors that lead to girl student drop out from school and found out that among them was failure to pay school fees and travelling very long distances to and from school.
She added that with funding from European Union, a number of Community Day Secondary Schools across the country were identified to benefit from improvement of infrastructure like classroom blocks, laboratories, libraries, bursaries for girl students and provision of bicycles and Chibavi CDSS was among such schools.
Forty girls (twenty in Form 1 and twenty in Form 2) will have their school fees paid for three years.
Speaking to Nyasa Times, Deputy Headteacher for the school, Michael Kunyenje, said the initiative was a very welcome idea and it will go a long way in keeping the girl child in school at Chibavi CDSS.
“It has been emphasized that the bicycles are property of the school and once one set of students complete Form 4, they will hand over back the bikes to the school so that other needy students may use them. Parents have been told to make sure the bicycles are used by their children when coming to school and nothing else,” he added.
One of the beneficiaries of both the bursary and the bicycle, Tiwonge Banda, who resides at Salisbury Lines and is in Form 2, said the bicycle will assist her to be reporting in time at school and also to arrive home before it is dark.
“I used to arrive late for classes and again late at home because of the long distance that is there between my home and this school. I know with the bicycle, the situation will improve,” she explained with joy.
The European Union is also constructing new classroom blocks, administration block, laboratories, library, a hall and a car park at Chibavi Community Day Secondary School under ISEM.
The girls have also been provided with sanitary pads.