Reposted from SarahAyanda
If you were to visit my community, Nsondole, it would not take you a week to notice that most girls do not attend school. Most girls only get to attend lower classes of primary school, the numbers start dropping in Standard 7. The numbers reach a new low at secondary where only a few girls have the privilege of attending. So many situations lead to girls dropping out of school, some cannot afford secondary school fees, some get pregnant while in school and it is not unusual for young girls to drop out of school and get married as young as 14 years old.
Many organisations have come up to help with this problem and are doing a commendable job of sponsoring the girls with school fees and some basic necessities to make sure they stay in school. Organisations like AGE AFRICA, CAMFED and STORYTIME. Today however, I would like to talk about the unsung champions of girls' education and this is the Mother’s group.
The Mother’s group is an initiative by the Malawi ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) started in 2008 to support girls education. These are women from the schools catchment area selected to help with issues concerning girl education. They work as volunteers and their duties mostly lie in guidance and counseling or managing the school garden.
The Nsondole Mother's group consists of 17 women; 10 from the primary school and 7 from the secondary school and it is heart warming to see that this group of women are taking girls education seriously. I have seen these women sacrifice their time to make sure that girls continue to go to school. I have seen them walk tirelessly for long distances to save girls from early marriages. I have witnessed them come together to do piece works (odd jobs) just to buy a girl they barely know school uniform. They better not hear that you are marrying off your child, or they come knocking on your door the same day just like Chief Kachindamoto in Dedza is doing . Even when a girl got pregnant while in school, they will help her get back after delivery.
One woman told me she has been nicknamed “Oswantchito” roughly translated "somebody with nothing to do.” People call her this because she does not get paid for her services but yet she works relentlessly to make sure girls go to school. Asked if this does not bother her, she said all she wants to see is many girls in her community get the education the she never had the chance of getting. She, and the rest of the group members strongly believe education is key to success and they will go as far as they can to make sure that not only do the girls go to school, but they also have a chance of succeeding.