Two serious cases of schoolchildren  abuse go unreported in Lilongwe

Two cases in which two girls were gravely abused in Chikhutu Village in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Tsabango in Lilongwe have not been reported to police or Social Welfare Office despite the cases being well known in the village.

Learners with posters showing some of the problems they face in the community

Malawi News Agency (Mana) learnt of the abuse of the two primary school girls from Primary Education Advisor (PEA) for Ching’ombe Zone, Bosten Manyasi, who covers the village.

Manyasi said one of the girls was severely beaten with a plank in the head by her step mother for eating rice porridge while the other one was defiled by her biological father.

“Both girls are pupils of Chimwala Primary School. The school’s Parent Teacher Association intervened in both matters after noticing that the bright girls who are in junior primary school had suddenly stopped coming to school,” said Manyasi.

Deputy Head teacher for the school, White Likome, confirmed the two incidents to Mana saying the school has since instituted a Pupils’ Rights Group to encourage children to report all forms of abuse.

“Parents and relatives tried to hide the incidents but we managed to get the truth out of them. The two incidents have motivated us to form Pupils Rights Groups which will equip pupils with skills on how they can defend themselves from various forms of abuse,” said Likome.

Despite the criminal nature of the two incidents, Lilongwe Police Public Relations Officer said the issue was not reported to the police as per requirement.

“The two incidents have not been reported to us but we will investigate the matter. We are asking the public not to hide any form of child abuse,” Kingsley Dandaula advised.

The District Education Manager, Lilongwe Rural East, Anderson Ntandika just like Dandaula, was not aware of the two incidents which happened early this month.

“The two incidents were not reported to my office. This could be because we are mostly concerned with abuse that happen within the school premises or those perpetrated by teachers. However any abuse towards children does in a way affect their performance at school,” said Ntandika.

He said his office strives to make the school place a very safe place for children and that any teacher found abusing a child faces stiff punishment. He added that the District Social Welfare Office through their Child Protection Workers is best placed to handle abuses that happen outside school.

However, District Social Welfare Officer, Jean Nthengwe, said the two incidents were not reported to her office too. She, just like Dandaula, said they will follow up the issue to ensure that justice prevails.

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