Some teachers in Mangochi have expressed concern with the tendency of parents to send their children in the streets to sell wares instead of sending them to school.
This tendency, the teachers said, is exposing more girls to gender-based violence (GBV) as most of them stay late in the night to sell all their merchandise.
The teachers were speaking at a meeting organised by Family Planning Association of Malawi (Fpam) in conjunction with Malawi Sexual Reproductive Health Alliance under a Girls and Women Empowerment Project that seeks to end sexual violence against girls and women in the district.
Grace Maseke, a teacher at Chiponde Primary school, called on stakeholders to empower teachers with relevant skills that can help them identify various forms of violence.
“We have had cases where children are free to talk to their teachers than parents. This, in part, maybe a sign that children face various abuses in their households,” she said.
Maseke added that identifying violence against children can help the teachers establish mechanisms of dealing with the vice.
Another teacher Pius Chimwala, from Mpale Primary School in the district, blamed some parents for letting their daughters stay out until late to sell goods to support their families.
He said the tendency is fuelling school drop-outs because the girls are exposed to money while young; hence, they do not appreciate the importance of continuing with their studies.
Fpam project manager for Mangochi Samuel Banda said the project is targeting 320 girls in eight primary schools in the district to be trained in human rights, child protection and sexual reproductive health rights, among others.
He said the project will also reach out to 80 women and 40 community leaders in four traditional authorities to empower them on how to deal with GBV cases.