The privacy of schoolgirls at Mlowe Community Day Secondary School in Rumphi is compromised as they bath and relieve themselves in open places due to lack of sanitation facilities in their hostels.
The hostels have no toilets and bathrooms, forcing the girls to defaecate and bath in the open at night.
The learners say they live in perpetual fear of being raped.
They described the sanitation crisis as hugely inconveniencing and embarrassing as they sometimes endure stares from passers-by.
One of them said: “During the day, we bath behind the hostel. The area is visible to passers-by.
It seems our privacy does not matter.”
According to headteacher Mathews Phiri, the school is failing to construct sanitation facilities due to funding woes.
The school sometimes gets half of the monthly funding of almost K200 000, he said.
Girls Empowerment Network (Genet) programmes manager Lindiwe Jere said the lack of proper sanitation facilities affects girls’ education and lowers their self-esteem.
“Failure to respect their right to privacy will make some start feeling they are less humans and not important,” the activist said.
The 23-bed hostel was donated by the US Government to save girls from walking long distances to get to school. n