Malawi needs more safe homes for sexually exploited girls—First Lady Chakwera

First Lady Monica Chakwera has said Malawi needs more safe homes in order to accommodate and provide social and moral support to girls who have experienced traumatizing sexual abuse.

Chakwera was speaking at Mponela in Dowa during the opening of When the Saints (WtS) Safe Home.

First Lady Monica Chakwera making her remarks

WtS is currently keeping 52 young girls who experienced various kinds of abuses around the communities of Dowa district.

She said sexual exploitation of children, especially girls, must end and people should move towards seeing a sustainable solution to sexual abuse in order not to live in communities where the abuses are rampant.

“Let us all rise, hold hands together to create a new culture that does not leave any room for sexual abuse,” she said.

She said there are many girls out there who have experienced or are experiencing rape on an ongoing basis and do not have homes.

WtS Executive Director David Peterka making his speech

Chakwera said once a girl has gone through painful experience, she first needs to go through trauma counselling before being reunited with their communities.

She was encouraged to see the girls at the centre full of joy again after going through a traumatic experiences.

This is a clear indication that the place has taken a great care of them interms of trauma counselling and showering them with love of Christ, she said.

Chakwera urged WtS to also focus on men as well because the mission is to offer healing and new life to those enslaved by sexual exploitation.

If men are taught how to respect women as well as value women and their dreams, it would reduce the incidences of rape in communities, she said.

She therefore offered her support to ensure sexual exploitation comes to an end.

In her remarks, the Minister of Gender, Children and Community Development, Patricia Kaliati, said many girls are experience abuse from people they trust and look up to.

“We need to reach out to those girls and ensure that they are in a safe environment to get the help they need,” she said

She warned men and boys who perpetrate the abuse that they will face the law.

US-based WtS Executive Director, David Perteka, said the establishment of a centre came through a revelation he had in 2009.

“I sought God’s guidance through a 21-day prayer and fasting and got this answer to assist those experiencing sexual exploitation. When searching where to start the mission, I came in contact on the internet with Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) coordinator Emma Kaliya who guided and find ourselves in Malawi,” said Peterka.

MHRRC Executive Director, Emma Kaliya, said in collaboration with the government, they selected Dowa district following the rampant incidences of sexual abuse, suicide, child marriages and teenage pregnancies.

Apart from counseling, the centre will be providing hands-on vocational training to help girls acquire knowledge and skills.

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