Girl wants Gender Minister to help her finish school

A 22 year old girl from Salima who returned to school after she had given birth to a child sired by her step father has asked the Minister of Gender, Rene Kachere to help her finish

The girl – who cannot be named for ethical reasons – presented her request to Kachere when she gave testimony of domestic violence she suffered during the launch of activities to mark the commemoration 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence at Mponela 2 Primary School in Dowa last weekend.

The girl recounted how her happy childhood turned upside down when her mother decided to remarry following the death of the girl’s father.

Kachere; Asked to help

“I was in Standard 2 when my mother married my step-father and we lived together until I reached Standard 7 at the age of 15 when my step father told me he and my mother had decided that I must go and live with his parents who would take care of me as their granddaughter,” she recounted.

She explained that while on the way to the village, her step father stopped and said he wanted to have sex with her.

“I managed to resist, but one I reached the village he got his wish and raped me and left me in the village,” she said.

That sexual encounter resulted in the young girl becoming pregnant, but as she had no contact with her mother or any or her relatives on the mother’s side, she stayed on in the step father’s village until she gave birth to a baby girl.

Only after the child was born was she able to rejoin her mother who helped her care for the child and later return to school.

“I am now continuing with my education and I am in Form 3. I would like you (Honourable Minister) to help me finish school so that one day I can be (a successful professional women) like you,” the girl, now aged 22 said.

Kachere did not directly respond to the girl’s request but described what she and many other women and girls go through as despicable.

“We should not allow these sort of things to continue happening in our country. I promise that my ministry will lobby for stiffer penalties to be meted out to all perpetrators of gender based violence,” the minister said.

The launch of activities marking the commemoration of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender based violence was marked by various activities including testimonies, tradition dances, recital of poetry, live band performances and speeches.

Among the dignitaries to who attended the launch were Minister of Health Dr. Jean kalirani, Chairperson of the NGO Gender Coordinating Network, Emma Kaliya, Government officials, traditional leaders, heads of civil society organizations and representatives of the donor community.

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