A 19 years old girl who dropped out of school due to poverty, in Chitipa District, has all the reasons to beam a smile after securing a four year scholarship award from Dan Church Aid (DCA).
In 2013, Rita Nyondo, was selected from Chambo Primary School, in Chitipa District, to start Form 1 at Chisenga Community Day Secondary School (CDSS), in the same district.
She, however, failed to continue with her studies because her parents could not afford to provide her with educational requirements, such as fees, uniform, learning materials and other necessities girl students can not do without.
Rita then drooped out of school, opting for marriage, in an attempt to pull herself out of a poverty cocoon at her impoverished home.
“I decided to drop out of school and get married because my parents had no resources to support my education.” narrates Rita, a mother of one.
When Rita discovered that marriage was not the answer to her poverty, after her un empowered teen husband terribly failed to provide household basic needs, she dumped the man and went back to her parents, where she helplessly lived with her baby.
Rita started seeing light at the end of a long tunnel when her predicament caught attention of Rain Bow Community Based Organisation (CBO) which is operating in Chisenga Area.
Rain Bow CBO is in partnership with Malawi Human Right Resource Centre (MHRRC), which is implementing a five year project, Enhancing Citizen Voice and Action in Local Government and Development Process in Chisenga and Wenya areas, in Chief Mwenewenya’s area.
The project, which is bank-rolled by Dan Church Aid (DCA) has a component of community mobilization campaign aimed at encouraging girls to remain in school and bringing back to school girls who dropped out of school due to pregnancies and other challenges, taking advantage of government re-admission policy.
Rain Bow CBO Coordinator, Sawak Kanyika said when Raita was counseled, it was established that she was more than will to go back to school if she was given support.
Said Kanyika, “When we approached her, Rita showed great willingness to go back to school on condition that she was assured of support for her studies.”
The information about Rita’s willingness to re-enroll was passed to project desk officer, assistant district social welfare officer for Chitipa, Mesheck Mdambo.
Mdambo submitted a scholarship proposal to Project Coordinator, Limbani Phiri, who in collaboration with officials from MHRRC, quickly approved the award.
“It was easy to give her a scholarship, going by her interest to go back to school and that her parents were ready to take care of the baby when she has gone to school,” said Mdambo.
DCA is supporting Rta’s education, as a non boarder, with K36,000 per term which is broken down as follows: K9000 fees per term, K20,000 for food plus other utilities and K7000 for accommodation.
According to Mdambo, the amount of money will increase, depending on adjustments at the school and other emerging pressing needs.
Rita said she does not find words to express her happiness that she is back in class.
“I can not look for better words to pass my gratitude to DCA, MHRRC, Rain Bow CBO and all who stretched a helping hand for me to enroll again,” said Rita, almost dropping tears of joy.
Rita, however, said the only way for her to reciprocate the support from DCA is through hard work so that she does well in class to please her financer.
The Head Master for Chisenga CDSS, Lonex Mtafya said although Rita is not yet fully settled, in terms of accommodation and the like, she has shown some determination that she wants to learn.
Mdambo, who said Rita again stands a chance to win another scholarship if she steps in the corridors of the university, asked teachers at the school to support and closely monitor Rita in her studies so that she becomes a role model when she finishes her higher education and picks up an envious job.
MHRRC Acting Director and Gender Activist, Emma Kaliya has always emphasized that education is not only a right but also the best empowerment for women and a girl child, which render them independent and free from gender based violence (GBV) which is precipitated by women absolute dependency on husbands as sole bread winners, in absence of their socioeconomic empowerment.
MHRRC is implementing the project in Chitipa and Dowa Districts, where women and girl child empowerment, through education and economic activity engagement are limited.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :