At least 85 vulnerable students will remain in school after Alliance One Tobacco Company bailed them out with scholarships.
The students, mostly orphans, have been drafted from various schools across the country in coordination with the district’s social welfare office, under an education outreach programme called the Home of Hope Orphan Centre implements, which the tobacco giant helps to fund.
Speaking on Wednesday during a cheque presentation ceremony held at the centre, Alliance One corporate affairs manager Fran Malila explained that her company was compelled to come to the rescue of the students, as the orphanage’s outreach programme was in line with the firm’s corporate social responsibility.
Said Malila: “As a company, we have always been a strong supporter of education towards progressively eliminating child labour and other abuses, hence our involvement here.
“As we are aware, most orphaned children are vulnerable to exploitation in most tobacco-growing areas. With Mchinji being of no exception, this guiding policy ensures that children are kept out of tobacco estates and are protected from child labour practices.”
Mchinji assistant district welfare officer Jane Shaba and Home of Hope founder the Reverend Thomson Chipeta thanked the company for the assistance.