If there were such a girl as the average Malawian girl then this is her.
She would have a 20% chance of going to secondary school and a 10% chance of completion.
Parents often can’t afford to pay for secondary education for all their children and if there is a choice they will send boys
If a girl goes to secondary school, only half will pass their Junior year exam and 25% their MSCE (Like Leaving Cert/ A Levels)
One in 5 will give birth by 15 and half will be married at 18.
Will live in her village, have 6 children and spend her life carrying water and firewood, as well as minding kids and doing chores, have a 20% chance of getting AIDS, have no money, electricity or sanitary facilities, have a 40% chance of being malnourished, spend her time in subsistence agriculture, with little access to medical services and die by the age of 40.
In relation to Malawi, I always look on the bright side because the women I write about here are bright, cheerful, spirited, intelligent and positive. They don’t want me to pity then or give them handouts. They would like a little help to restore their dignity, but given the slightest opportunity they can lift them selves out of this life of unnecessary drudgery and become self sufficient.
We see water as the first step and food close second in terms of beginning a process, BUT without education nothing will change and here I mean the education of girls and women. If you educate a man, that’s all you get, but if you educate a woman, she educates a family and even a village, and we have seen in our studies in Salisbury Line that the amount of change is proportional to the number of years in school.
SO we are funding education for girls. They must qualify for Government Secondary school, be poor but willing to work very hard and be determined to achieve.
Here we see the possibilities for breaking the cycle as a result of confidence, attitude to education for their children, further education for themselves and influence in their community.
We are convinced that the future of Malawi can be shaped by it’s women, educated women. They know what is needed. They can certainly do it
Education makes the difference: we have seen it.
Top: Victoria carries clean water from the pump 20 metres from the kitchen: She walks 3 km to school every day and so has a chance of qualifying for secondary school.
Below is Patricia who is 18 and married, has little formal education. Her dream was to be a nurse. But now all hope of that is long gone.
295 Euros meets the bare necessities but we help the girls with growing and cooking their own food. Kitchen, toilets and showers are outside. Most come from very poor farming backgrounds and have overcome a multitude of obstacles to get there.