The First Lady of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Getrude Mutharika Thursday commissioned a K120 Million girls hostel at Emvuyeni Community Day Secondary School in Mzimba district with a call to girls to work hard and be independent in future.
The Girls hostel which accommodates 80 students has been constructed by Plan Malawi, an international nongovernmental organization supporting government in the provision of various development programmes in several districts of the country.
Speaking when she opened the hostel, the First Lady said with the construction of the hostels, girls at the school have no excuse to drop out of school due to long distances.
“The long distances to and from the school you cover every day saddens us; that is why we thought of collaborating in this project to construct the girls hostel for you to ensure that you do not travel such long distances or get forced to do self-boarding where you are prone to sexual abuse and forced early marriages,” Dr. Mutharika said.
She expressed hope that with the opening of the girls’ hostel a lot of young girls will continue with their education in the area and even proceed to the university level.
“It is our hope that in future the girls we are seeing today will become nurses, doctors and lawyers,” she said.
Dr. Mutharika who is also Patron of Beautify Malawi Trust said poverty is mostly depicted in women so if girls are educated then poverty is going to be eradicated.
She added that issues of gender based violence in marriages are rampant because most women did not go farther with their education and they tolerate the vice because they are not financially independent.
She said Beautify Malawi Trust believes that educating a girl child will make Malawi beautiful as the nation will have many educated women.
Country Director for Plan International, Lilly Omondi said plans to construct the girls hostel at Emvuyeni started way back when they had a discussion with the First Lady on ending child marriages.
She said they thought of building the girls hostels to keep the girls in school as the long distances the girls were walking everyday made them prone to so many dangerous activities that made them drop out of school.
“Plan International is committed to ensuring that in every area we work, there should be a girls’ hostel and today we are here commissioning the very first girls’ hostel.
“Plan makes sure that girls have a facility to keep them at school and finish up to university level,” she said.
Omondi asked both girls and boys to focus on education as it is the only weapon to end poverty.
She also asked parents and the school management committee to make sure that the girls utilize the hostels as currently only 19 girls are at boarding school out of 72 girls at the school.
Plan International is working in four districts of Mzimba, Kasungu, Lilongwe and Mulanje.
Representing fellow students, Grace Mbewe thanked Plan International for the girls’ hostel, saying it will go a long way in uplifting the girls’ education as they will no longer have to travel long distances of up to 10 kilometers to access education.