It was time to take the girls away from the books and connect them to women who are striving for a better life. There were faces of mixed description – some with looks of curiosity, not knowing what to expect while others were excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to town. Once we arrived, the reception we received was fascinating, making our girls feel at home. This was a trip organized by Join My Village as a way to encourage high performance among the scholarship girls. The girls were from different secondary schools that work with Join My Village. “This trip is historical not only to me but even my family, I really wish my parents could know that there are women out here who have gone this far,” said Triza from Khola Secondary school.Echoing what Triza said was Mavuto who will be sitting for her form four examinations in a couple of weeks. “To get educated, one needs not only to be in class, adventures help to expose us to new things and helps to make one more knowledgeable,” she says.During the day visit the girls met with students and teacher from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) formerly Bunda College of Agriculture and Kamuzu College of Nursing in the capital city of Malawi, Lilongwe. The curiosity kept the girls going and they walked around the two campuses tirelessly. When it was all said and done, they went back to their respective schools with lots of stories. They giggled all the way feeling different from the rest of the students having witnessed what could be their future.“My highlight of the day is the meeting with the vice chancellor of the LUANAR, Professor Phiri, which is something I never dreamed I would do. In fact, I didn’t know that this professor comes from Kasungu and as he shared things that he has developed and the plans he has for his home area, I feel proud of him,” said Alinafe who was also among the girls that made the trip.While there is hope that some girls will make it to the University, many could not make a final choice of which University they may prefer studying. “Despite both Colleges having good structures, to me LUANAR is good because it is away from town giving students enough time to concentrate, but I can’t rule out the possibility of Kamuzu College of Nursing as I have seen young women, almost my age, taking us into different places, having laptops where they can surf the internet and learn about anything that crosses their minds. I also loved their uniforms because they look unique,” disclosed one of the students from Chilanga secondary school. When it was time to go back home the girls are no longer singing on the buses, instead they were all sharing what they like most about the trip; some said they love the environment of the classes, the rooms and the library while others appreciated the laboratories and other experimental places like the food science lab. The one thing that they did agree on was how grateful they were for Join My Village giving them the opportunity of a lifetime!
She holds her brother in her arms as they make their way to school. They pass through a bushy footpath and at times they are forced to change when heavy rains have blessed the area. Her name is Ivy Kaundama, nine years old and the first born in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Clement Kaunda a farming family. Ivy and her seven year old brother, Clement Junior, go to Chimatiro primary and they are both in grade one. Ivy, who is repeating grade one for the third time in a row, has not become discouraged. Despite her difficulty in moving on to grade two, Ivy continues to dream of a bright future. Walking a distance of 4.5 kilometers, or almost 3 miles, Ivy never gives up even if it means arriving late to school and being sent back, she will still wake up with hope and give it another try the next morning. Although Ivy is not sure of what she wants to be in the future, her parents keep on sending her to school to join her best friend Elube and other children from the same area; old and young. The voice of Grace Motiwa, her favorite teacher, makes her school time great experience. When she hears Join My Village has provided the school with books and has built a house and a school block she keeps on hoping that the distance being walked every day, the rains and her age will not keep her from attaining an education.
On behalf of CARE Malawi, “Zikomo” which means THANK YOU in the local language, Chichewa. Thank you for your generous support of girls’ education in Malawi. Thanks to you and other Global Giving supporters, girls now have access to scholarships, reference materials, and school uniforms. Education helps end generational cases of poverty especially when a girl child is among the educated. She will help her family and relatives because she values everything no matter how small one might look at a thing. Our girls are no longer in the tobacco farms, their marriage age is at least delayed, and they now have a choice of who to marry and how many children they can have as a family.
The construction of houses for female teachers is a symbol of inspiring a girl child to strive for a better future. When she sees a role model, it fans the flame of fire within her to keep on trying and become a role model herself.
Your contribution helps break the cycle of poverty. To learn more about CARE’s work in Malawi, please visit http://joinmyvillage.com/
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Senior Director for Strategic Partnerships and Alliances