Speaking during the Zodiak 2017/2018 Annual Top Girl Child Awards where 10 girls were awarded for scooping 6 points in their Malawi School Certificate of Education MSCE at Saint Mary’s Secondary School in Zomba, the First Lady said it remains imperative for the girl child to attain higher education.
Madame Mutharika said achievements made by girls in various sectors are her main passion that her organization Beautify Malawi Trust - BEAM will continue to look into areas of education so that girls continue to excel.
“Girls in the country meet various challenges and all forms of abuse ranging from sexual abuse, child trafficking, early marriages to social torture. Time has come to take our children back to school and protect them from such abuses. Education remains my area of focus and I will do all I can to fight for the right to education for girls,” said Madame Mutharika.
Professor Mutharika noted that 27 percent of girls are married before the age of 18 which is a high number and totally unacceptable. She said BEAM believes in transforming mindsets of women so that they make informed decisions in their everyday life.
Madame Mutharika then commended Zodiak for celebrating and awarding the success of these girls as this will help them attain and realize their dreams.
“Zodiak is making a great impact on these girls and those that have not yet sat for their MSCE exams. These efforts cannot go unnoticed. I call on other partners to emulate this example and take part in supporting education in the country,” she said.
Madame Mutharika then urged the girls to continue working hard when they go to various colleges and encouraged the ones in secondary school to take the road to success that the 10 girls have and score well in their MSCE.
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education Justin Saidi said government has implored various initiatives to keep girls in school by introducing the re-admission policy where girls go back to school after giving birth, sexual and reproductive clubs, introducing role modeling and career guidance among others.
Managing Director for Zodiak Broadcasting Station Gospel Kazako said these awards are given to the most prestigious students who have excelled in their MSCE and it is always their wish to see these girls attain university education.
“It remains a dream for every girl to prosper. Many girls are dropping out of school and we want to make sure that these girls are sent back to school so that they can become shining stars. Compromising education is the fastest way of destroying a nation and we do not want to see that happening,” explained Kazako
Alinane Mazalo representing students who passed with 6 points said the presence of the First Lady serves as a motivation and a great role model to young women in the area of education.
She however called on government and various organizations to furnish them with scholarships as many of the girls may not be able to afford tuition fees for their secondary education.
“Madame First Lady 4 years ago, our friends who were awarded were given scholarships by the Chinese government. That scholarship scheme is now defunct. I would urge government and other organizations to consider offering scholarships so that we realize our university goals,” she said.
The awardees, 10 in total, went away with a laptop and a laptop bag courtesy of the First Lady, a grocery hamper, K145,000.00 each among others.