First Lady Monica Chakwera has encouraged young girls in Mangochi who dropped out of school for one reason or another that all is not lost and should pick up from where they left.
The First Lady challenged the young women, most of them teenagers, at Chikoko Bay State Lodge on Christmas Eve when she hosted and engaged the teen mothers and school dropouts through a motivational talk.
She said she is aware of the different circumstances that forced the girls to drop out of school, but challenged them that there is still a chance for them to go back to school and make it big.
Said the First Lady: “You just need to have the will and make up your mind; the rest will follow.”
During the gathering, Chakwera shared her own experience as a school girl.
Said the First Lady: “I grew up in a typical village set-up in Mwazisi, Rumphi and it wasn’t easy for my parents to raise enough money for our education.
“Luckily, my father had grown a lot of fruits and I had to take the fruits to the bus depot to sell and raise money for school fees, among other things.”
She said that when she was at Likuni Girls Secondary School in Lilongwe, sometimes she could not make it back to Rumphi when schools closed and that instead she stayed with Catholic Sisters at the campus.
Earlier, the First Lady introduced Dr. Queen Dube, head of Department of Paediatrics at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, who also motivated the teen mothers and school dropouts with her own touching real life story.
Dube, who said she knew no challenges in life until the age of 12, said she found herself in the village away from the comfort of one of Lilongwe’s low density residential areas, Area 12, after her father got arrested on “political grounds”.
She said what she went through and how she kept herself focused to achieve her goal was determination.
Said Dube: “All you have to do is to have a dream and pursue that dream until you achieve it: all the obstacles and potholes you find on the way should in no way stop you from pursuing your dream.”
The teen mothers and school dropouts had earlier presented their challenges and what forced them out of school.
Most of the girls’ challenges revolved around extreme poverty, parental influence for the girls to get married, and lack of motivation to remain in school.
One of the teen mothers, Naomi Gama, 19, said she dropped out of school due to lack of fees and that she, together with her siblings, now help her elderly parents in fending for the family of 10.
Mangochi District made headlines when over 7 000 teen pregnancies were reported to have been recorded between January and June amid the Covid-19 school break.