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Updated: Mar 6

Florence (front-2nd from left) back in class after being readmitted following mother group intervention.

Growing up in a poverty-stricken home headed by her elderly grandmother, 19 year old Florence Malanga (not real name) and her younger sister struggled against all odds to carry on with their primary education and reach as far as Standard 8 which once seemed like the end of the road for Florence in 2020. Before she could sit for her final primary education exams, Florence who is from T/A Njema in Mulanje dropped out of school at Maveya Primary School as she got impregnated while aged 16 by a married man who was later on arrested by the police.

“The man told me that he will buy me clothes and that he will also be providing me with school materials. Considering the poverty at home, I accepted to be in a sexual relationship with him then I got pregnant. The man refused responsibility and never even took care of me when I was pregnant”, Florence narrated her story. “The man was arrested but after 2 years he was released from jail. It was heartbreaking for me and I never thought I would even go back to school again even after delivery until the day the mother group came’, Florence continued.

According to Florence, her parents got divorced when she was a very little girl. Her mother remarried and lives in Mulanje town while her father lives in a different village. She lives with her grandmother with five younger siblings including 3 from her mother’s second marriage. It was at her grandmother’s house where Florence got visited by Maveya Mother Group members after their training on psychosocial support provision which CRECCOM conducted under Girls Get Equal (GGE) project as a way of mobilizing the community members towards keeping girls in school.

“Towards the end of 2022, four of our members were invited to the GGE training and we were taught about the readmission policy of the government and our role on the same. Following the training, we have so far readmitted two girls including Florence… We approached her family, counselled them and they agreed to support her with the care for the baby so that she can be attending classes”, Mary Siliva, Mother Group Chair explained. “We were also taught to be proactive to prevent early pregnancy cases so we also conduct counselling sessions for all girls at the school to teach them on how they can protect themselves,” Siliva continued.

After 2 years of staying at home as a school-dropout, Florence is now happily back in class. She decided to take a step back and started all over with Standard 7 to gain momentum and refresh her academic memory before going back to Standard 8. Her dream is to become a teacher when she finishes school. Florence is one of the many girls who have been at the core of CRECCOM’s focus under the “Keeping Girls in School” component of the NORAD-funded Girls Get Equal (Nzotheka) project, which is being implemented in partnership with PLAN International. The project, which started in January 2019, will phase out in 2024. CRECCOM is implementing the project in 189 school communities in Phalombe, Mulanje and Lilongwe districts.


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