First Lady Monica Chakwera has lobbied for support from Malawian women living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) towards improving girls education in the country.
Speaking during the meeting at Grand Hyatt Hotel on Saturday, she said women in diaspora have a role to play in supporting girl child education in Malawi.
Said Chakwera: “I believe each one of us has a relation who is still in school. I encourage you to continue supporting this noble cause financially or materially.”
She appreciated various contributions women in diaspora make towards the country’s development even though they are living abroad.
“This is why it is very important to meet once in a while to remind each other of the important role women play in society,” the First Lady said.
Chakwera said there was need to develop and uphold standards to create a safe and sustainable environment in which every woman and girl can exercise their human rights and live up to their full potential.
“Over 85 percent of girls are undereducated and outnumbered in the majority of primary schools and even have fewer opportunities to pursue higher levels of education,” she said.
The First Lady said currently, only six percent of girls graduate from high school out of which only 2.9 percent go to post-secondary education.
Chakwera said that was why she was championing the girls’ mentorship programme that addresses the challenges girls face to remain in school as one way of giving back to society.
“Education is not only a fundamental human right for young people, it is one of the solutions to end poverty in the world,” she said.
A representative of the Malawian women living in UAE, Suzan Mwalwanda said as Malawian women, they shared the First Lady’s passion and were inspired by her vision.
“We are inspired by your story of a village girl who has made it in life because of education and, therefore, feel we would be able to support in every small way,” she said.
Mwalwanda revealed that the pillars of Chakwera’s Shaping Our Future Foundation weave into some of the topics that top their discussions in various forums among Malawian women in UAE.
“We believe that establishment of trade deals between Malawi and UAE would commercialise agriculture, thereby supporting the two pillars of the Shaping Our Future Foundation, namely women’s economic empowerment and climate smart agriculture,” she said.
The First Lady launched her foundation, Shape Our Future in October 2020 to keep girls in school, support the needs of street children, empower women economically, promote climate smart agriculture and promote sexual and reproductive health among others.