Children and other stakeholders in villages around Chezi Trading Centre in Traditional Authority Mkukula have bemoaned lack of deliberate will in most parents to ensure that the children’s right to education is protected by exposing such children to various forms of abuse including forced labour.
The revelation came when a team of Malawi Institute of Journalism Students (MIJ) from Lilongwe Campus on October 15 2021 visited the area to appreciate how children in the area are protected from various forms of abuses.
In an interview with MIJ Express, Gift Chisale (not his real name) said he decided to drop out of school while in standard five simply because his parents never supported him with basic school necessities hence he found it befitting to drop out of school and start fending for himself as parents failed him.
“I was struggling to get basic necessities for my education and I must confess that I lacked parental guidance hence I never found education worthy it. Chezi Trading Centre is wrong site for us children to live because we easily engage in bad and immoral behavior just because of what is happening around the trading center such hemp smoking and young girls engaging in prostitution and other s****l orgies,” he said.
Livison Lonjezo , chairperson of Chisomo Village Bank who is also a member of the mother group in the area, says efforts are underway by community leaders to drive children who dropped out of school back to school in addition to the campaign aimed at ending child marriages which are rampant in the area.
“As a mother group team, we tried to talk to parents that they should support children with necessities required for school and stop sending them to the trading center to sell some merchandize. I actually don’t understand why some parents are still forcing their children to drop out of school to get married,” Lonjezo said.
Group Village Headman Kavala whose real name is Chifundo Matemba said he is trying his best to make sure that children in the area are protected and that they continue with their education.
“Despite challenges and abuses that our children are facing at the hands of their biological parents, we are doing everything possible to make sure that children are safe and for your information, we have even engaged Gule Wamkulu to help force children to go back to school,” Matemba said.
The Head teacher of St Mathias Primary School corroborated the fact that there is massive school dropout and that more girls are getting married at a tender age in the area
In an interview with MIJ Express news, Education rights activist, Benedicto Kondowe has called on various stakeholders in the country to join hands in the fight against child rights abuse to let the children attain their right to education.
“All children, they deserve to live a happy life. I therefore call on various stakeholders in communities to make sure that our children are safe and that their right to education is safeguarded, “Kondowe said
By Vanwek Mumbwa Junior, Precious Katema and Fatima Mugabe.