First Lady Monica Chakwera yesterday celebrated Mother’s Day at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe with a call to women to join hands in saving girls from early marriages and pregnancies.
This was her first Mother’s Day celebration at State House following her husband Lazarus Chakwera’s victory in the court-sanctioned June 23 2020 Fresh Presidential Election.
During the event, the First Lady said mothers play a critical role in inspiring girls to aim high in school.
Telling her story, Chakwera said: “If it wasn’t for my mother, 50 years ago, making a decision that I go to school while my brother stayed home the whole year due to lack of fees, I wouldn’t have been here.”
She stressed the need to deal with what she described as a “big national problem”.
Said the First Lady: “We cannot continue ignoring it when little girls continue getting pregnant.”
Her remarks were in response to earlier sentiments by Dr Queen Dube who pleaded with the country’s leaders and women to save girls from early pregnancies.
Speaking on a topic Mothering in the 21st Century, she said: “Girls as young as 10 are giving birth in Malawi instead of being in school. If you go to Bwaila Hospital [in Lilongwe] now, you will find a very young girl, giving birth. That’s how big this problem is. As women, we must do something with our children.”
Dube called on women to step up their efforts in this area.
Speaking earlier, former president Joyce Banda said the event was about sharing ideas between the young and old mothers.
She said: “Let us support one another as women in all our endeavours. It is our duty to protect our girls and we all have a role to play.
“To the First Lady, you are a champion for women and girls. Keep up the good work. Knowing how passionate you are, I have so much faith in you.”
Besides Banda, other high profile dignitaries at the event included Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani Hara, the Vice-President’s spouse Mary Chilima former first ladies Callista Mutharika and Annie Muluzi, Lilongwe City mayor, Juliana Kaduya as well as Cabinet ministers Patricia Kaliati, Abida Mia, Khumbize Chiponda and Nancy Tembo.
Malawi commemorates Mother’s Day on October 15 alongside the International Day of Rural Women whose theme this year was Building Rural Women’s Resilience in the Wake of Covid-19.
The United Nations designated the International Day of Rural Women to appreciate the role women in rural areas play in agriculture, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management and rural enterprises.