Girls from some schools in Mzimba have asked parents, guardians, civil society organisations (CSOs) and government to protect them from various forms of abuse that affect their education and wellbeing.
They say defilement, forced marriages, long distances to schools and bad behaviour of some male teachers are some of the abuses that need to be looked into.
The girls complained through songs, poems and drama at Njuyu in Mzimba on Saturday during International Day of the Girl Child commemoration.
They sang: “Where there are cases of child rights violations, it is mainly the girls that are victims. For boys, they are normally law breakers, like children in conflict with the law.
“But where girls are concerned, more often it is that their rights have been violated. It is either they are victims of defilement, or maybe they are not being maintained by parents, and other cases of such nature.”
Primary education adviser (PEA) representative Malani Chirambo said long distances to schools was a major problem.
He said some students walk up to 15 kilometres to get to Nyuyu Community Day Secondary School, which is not safe.
Plan Malawi Mzuzu community development facilitator Grace Mukula said the organisation has started constructing hostels for girls in Mzimba to ease some of the challenges.
Mzuzu Child Justice Court magistrate George Major Mbewe said about 80 percent of the cases he handles relate to abuses against the girl child.
He said many of such violations are a result of cultural traditions.
He also blamed the situation on ignorance of the law, especially on the part of parents. n