It is a common thing for teenage girls and boys to attend school together, at least in much of the world. Unfortunately, in developing countries, girls often don’t get the same opportunities as boys.
Young girls in Malawi live very different lives than those in the US. Their day likely begins before dawn. There are chores to do. Water must be fetched for the day. Over an open fire they help prepare breakfast for the family. It all takes time and she is often late for school. Later in the day there will be more chores, more fetching of water and more cooking. There will be little time left for study.
Often families will ask their daughters to help in the fields. They need extra hands to do the hard work of tilling, planting, hoeing, and toting. Having food to eat may depend on the efforts of the children in the family. School is a secondary priority.
Sometimes without their consent, sometimes just to survive, in certain districts of Malawi almost half of girls are married before age 18. The responsibilities of a wife, the home and children follow. School is no longer possible.
Keeping girls in school is not only cool, it will change the future! Not just for girls but for the communities they live in!
To make this happen Y-Malawi partners are working to empower girls. It begins with education for Chiefs, Pastors, village leaders and families regarding the importance of school. It means education and cultural change around the destructiveness of child marriages. It means coaching young girls through assertiveness, and providing encouragement that dreams can become reality.