Dozens of girls who were recently rescued by a community-based organisation (CBO)—Tsogolo la Atsikana—from forced and prearranged marriages in Phalombe, are failing to return to school because the organisation does not have funds to pay for their education.
The development has threatened the future of 195 girls, most of whom have become enemies of their parents because they bought the CBO’s idea to postpone their marriages until they complete their education.
Narrating her ordeal in an interview with Nation on Sunday, 19-year-old Joyce Mahuwo said there is no one to turn to for help to achieve her dream of becoming a police officer.
A mother to a one-year child, Mahuwo said: “I willingly abandoned the marriage I was forced into to concentrate on education. My parents have vowed never to support me because I defied their wish for me,” said the depressed girl, who was in Form Two at Michesi Community Day Secondary School in Phalombe.
Tsogolo la Atsikana executive director Stella Goffat confirmed this.
Goffat said since its formation in 2008, the organisation has not received meaningful financial support from donors to enable it to fund girls who have been rescued from early marriages.
“The only funding we got was from ActionAid Malawi. We are interested in seeing these girls finish their education, but we have no resources to see them through,” she explained.
ActionAid Malawi district coordinator for Phalombe Kingsley Mambulasa, while commending Tsogolo la Atsikana for the work the CBO has done with the funding it got from his organisation, he could not promise financial support for the girls’ education.