Beautify Malawi (Beam) Trust has built a girls’ hostel at Sopa Community Day Secondary School in Mchinji to curb alarming number of girls quitting school due to teen pregnancies.
The intervention by First Lady Gertrude Mutharika’s charity comes in response to October 23 2015 article which exposed the ugly face of self-boarding.
The challenges encountered by the schoolgirls forced some of them to lodge in unregulated huts in neighbouring villages and saw at least 111 girls dropping out of school due to pregnancies.
Beam trustee Dingiswayo Jere said the First Lady is constructing the 200-bed hostel because she was so touched by the revelations.
“So far, Beam has spent almost K42 million on the project which started in January 2016. It is expected to be opened in April. Actually, all materials are already on the site. We are waiting for the contractor to finish the works,” he said when Beam officials inspected the project.
He saluted community members for contributing bricks, sand and water to ensure all girls remain in school.
Beam is also supporting needy learners with scholarships, covering tuition fees and everyday needs.
Head teacher Jonathan Magombo said he has no doubt that the hostel under construction will improve education attainment among girls.
“Most girls end up in risky conditions assoctiated with self-boarding to excuse themselves from walking long distances to get to school,” he said.
At the moment Beam is constructing hostels in six other schools across the country and according to Jere there are other schools who are expected to be awarded similar projects, saying, “At the moment we have been overwhelmed by requests for girls’ boarding facilities and an interesting part of this is that most of them have genuine cases of needs.”
Form Three student Patience Dyetsani could not contain her excitement as she says the hostel will put an end to enormous challenges and temptations which she faces in a house she rents around the school.