When you educate a girl child, you educate the whole nation – so goes the saying, and for a girl child to be educated, surely more huddles stand ahead of their educational path.
While some of the challenges are orchestrated by stereotypes of gender, others are man-made as they can be solved by either the community members right there, government or even other stakeholders prying their trade in education sector.
For a Standard 7 Steria Chakwanira of Mtata village in Traditional Authority Mkukula, she says she faces more challenges with her school environment at Mtunthama LEA School in Senga Zone, Dowa District whenever she starts experiencing her menstruation period.
“One day when I started my period, I failed to find a better place where I could prepare myself for this period and when I went to the nearby bush, some boys chased me there and I forced myself to run home while menstrual was oozing, I surely felt embarrassed.” Steria narrated her ordeal.
Where good toilets are not available or they do not correlate with toilet – leaners ratio, these are some of challenges most students face especially in rural areas and these are also contributing factors to school drop out.
To learners of Mtunthama, smile is all over them now as RHEMA Institute for Development has bailed them out from this challenge with good toilets which are also motivating them to stay in school.
RHEMA with funding from Hope for a Child-Uk has constructed six (6) toilets at this Mtunthama Primary School in its quest of implementing Water and Sanitation Health project.
Speaking after completion of construction works for these toilets, Venus Mtonya, head teacher for this school hailed RHEMA for this timely donation which he says will help his school easie some Sanitation challenges the school has had been encountering.
“This school has around one thousand and eight hundred learners with over one thousand and one hundred being girls and these girls have had been facing many challenges during their menstrual period as they had no proper toilets that could be interchangeably used as changing rooms for their Sanitary pads and with these toilets, we are lest assured that these girls have found solace to their longtime challenges.” Mtonya said.
He further added that now the turn up girls daily has improved according to their daily attendance registers something he is proud of as he says this will enhance good performance among many girls.
Executive Director for RHEMA, Innocent Semu, says his organization decided to provide toilets to this school after noting that the school had only three seven (7) toilets against the enrollment of over One thousand and eight hundred (1 800).
“Under our WASH program, we resorted to bail out Mtunthama school from this problem with an emphasis on promoting girl child education in our catchment area and we are very grateful that the toilets are now ready to start being used by learners here.” Semu explained.
Malawi has more schools that operate with inadequate infrastructure that includes learning blocks, administration blocks, toilets and even water and these problems lead to more dropouts of learners in most schools as they lack a motivation factor.
The Malawi’s population still has a large percentage of illiterate population with females leading the number.