Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Twambilire Kalolokesya
The Home of Hope Orphanage offers education opportunities to boys and girls from kindergarten all the way to vocational school. One common pattern that has been observed within these opportunities for students is that girls perform poorly in class more than boys.
When I had a chat with the secondary school girls, I asked them why they did not perform as well in school as their male counterparts. These girls gave several reasons, one of them being because the school does not allow them to have group discussions with boys. They said boys are more intelligent and if they could have discussions with them after school they could also improve in their studies. At first, I thought they were joking, but the girls insisted that they seriously believed that it was a concrete reason.
The longer I’ve stayed at the orphanage, the closer I’ve become to a female form three student called Faith, who seemed to be different than other girls. She showed a lot of confidence in her ability to do well in class, she talked of her determination to get very good grades and make it to the college of medicine after her form four exams.
One day the secondary school head teacher showed me Faith’s school report and it was amazing. The girl got distinctions in most of her subjects (and mostly science subjects). The head teacher told me about how Faith always remains in the top two of the class, asks teachers what she has to do in order to make it to the college of medicine, and also tells the teachers the challenges she faces with her friends because of her high performance in class. The head teacher said that sometimes she comes to the staff room with tears in her eyes because of what her friends have said to her.
Despite all her challenges, Faith says that she will keep on working hard because she knows what she wants to achieve, and she will not allow peer pressure to change her focus. She chooses to be different even if her friends do not like it, and she helps out fellow students that need help with their studies.