COVID-19 has had impacts far beyond the illness itself. With schools closed in Malawi, young students and youth who would normally be in school are now at home. They have little to do other than chores at home. Most have no ability to communicate with schools, teachers, and others outside their immediate village. There is virtually no opportunity for on-line learning. The situation is made worse, because these children are now at much greater risk. Unfortunately, during the last few months physical abuse, teen pregnancies, and child marriages have all spiked along with COVID-19.
To help these children who are so vulnerable, Y-Malawi partners are taking action. The Chiefs Ministry is conducting awareness meetings with Chiefs to discuss holding people accountable for their actions. They are doing community education sessions making parents aware of the dangers and helping them to realize that they must protect children.
The Youth department has stepped up efforts by holding Youth Empowerment and End Child Marriage campaigns. They have also done additional training with Mother Groups and are working to expand their influence in the village.
Fishers, Trainers and Senders is helping to educate the children themselves. They are holding training sessions designed to help young people recognize abuse. They are encouraging the young people that they have a choice and can take action to protect themselves. The training is called Journey to Hope.
A young student named Takondwa (pictured here) said, “I have learned that it is not good to hide anything if I have been abused, I must tell my friend, my parents or the police. Through this book, I have the knowledge to help friends who need hope for the future.”
Another student named Jailosi said, “What I have learned from Journey to Hope is that when I have been abused I must report the matter to the police, so that they can assist me to go to the hospital and been assisted to avoid sexual transmitted disease.”
COVID is not just an illness. It is a life changer. Like in the days of Joseph of the Bible, God is using even something like COVID-19, that might be considered evil, for good and to help those most vulnerable.