The Centre for Alternatives for Victimized Women and Children (CAVWOC) has emphasized on the need to encourage Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) students that they can pass the Malawi School Certificate of Education and proceed with their education.
CAVWOC’s Project Officer in Phalombe Linda Alimoso made the remarks on Sunday during a girls’ conference involving 100 girls from three community day secondary schools in the district.
According to Alimoso, on top of serious challenges hindering vulnerable girls from attaining education (such as lack of financial support and gender based violence) her organization also noted that there is a prevailing misconception among the students that Community Day Secondary schools cannot produce University material, that is failing most of them from working hard.
“It is religiously believed among them and it leads them into failure because they stop working hard, that is why we decided to bring together girls in schools that are within our catchment area so that they can meet possible role models who come from similar backgrounds with them,” said Alimoso.
During the girls camp, the organization paraded female nurses, teachers and journalists who went through community day secondary schools but went on to attain university education and secure good jobs.
Speaking during the annual camping activity, one of the role models Chimwemwe Kalolo a nurse at Migowi Health Centre reminded the girls that every long mile journey begins with one step, as such they should not be demoralized with where their journeys start from.
“I started from a CDSS in the village just like you but due to hard work I managed to go to Kamuzu College of Nursing to study nursing; I later on got a job and now I am just coming from the Netherlands where I was studying for my Masters in Community Health. So I want you to believe that it’s possible,” explained Kalowa.
Through implementation of the Improving Secondary Education in Malawi (ISEM) project, CAVWOC identified challenges facing girls in their quest to attain education and in response to the challenges the organization is working on reducing gender based violence in the area as well as providing school bursary to vulnerable girls.
One of the girls, Cecilia Maloya of Khongoloni Community Day Secondary School said the life storis shared by the role models had greatly encouraged her to go on with education.
CAVWOC is implementing the ISEM project with funding from European Union through Oxfam.