Loveness Makawa, is a 13 year old girl from Kalambo Village, Traditional Authority Kawinga in Machinga district. She is in standard 6 at Mtchema primary school which is located in Mtchema Village. On 23 March 2022, Loveness went missing from her home after going to school.
Mathews Makawa, who is the father of Loveness said that he got upset and wondered where his child is when he saw that Loveness was not coming back home. Mathews has 4 children, 2 girls, and 2 boys.
“When my children go to school, I am used to seeing them coming back home by afternoon. This was not the case on that day and this raised some questions about the whereabouts of Loveness,” said Makawa.
Mathews said that he even went to his neighbor's house to see if Loveness’s schoolmates have arrived home but he found out that they already arrived.
This did not keep the father away from searching for the whereabouts of Loveness around the village and went to Kalambo Community Action Group (CAG) and Police Forum to assist in searching for his daughter.
Community Mobilization Team for Kalambo CAG, Dailesi, said that following the training they received under Breakthrough Action, the CAG acquired many skills and knowledge on how to protect children from different forms of abuse and keep them in school.
“On 25 March 2022, Loveness’s parents communicated with CAG from Kalambo about his missing child. This was around 11:00 am,” said Dailesi.
Dailesi said that through the Breakthrough Action project Kalambo CAG was trained on seven themes namely Vision and values for my family, my daughters, and sons, loving my family, human rights and responsibilities, sexual reproductive health, education for my children, and parenting.
“Through these topics, we learned some of the barriers that deny children from completing education and even how to overcome the barriers and we applied this concept on their duty to assist Mr. Makawa to find his daughter,” said Dailesi.
Loveness happy to be back to school
With assistance from the two teams, Loveness’s father heard some rumors that his child (Loveness) was being kept at a house of a certain man whose origin was from Jali in Zomba district.
“As we were searching for the whereabouts of Loveness, we were tipped by some villagers that Loveness is locked inside the house of a certain man,” said Dailesi.
Loveness was found at a house of a certain man at Makina Village, Traditional Authority Nsanama in Machinga district.
“By the time we reached the house, it was locked but Loveness was inside the house,” said Dailesi.
Since the landlady for the house where the man who kidnapped Loveness was around, the two teams went to meet her and explained everything so that they get the house unlocked to rescue Loveness.
At this point, the landlady told them that the man was away at the dambo taking care of his crops.
Then Loveness’s father, Kalambo CAG and Police Forum did not waste much of their time but followed the man to his dambo and arrested him.
It was noted that Loveness stayed locked inside the man’s house for 3 days and was being abused.
After taking the man to Ntaja Police, they were written a letter to take Loveness to Machilinga Health center to receive the medical report.
“Medical report showed that the man has been sleeping with Loveness since January 2022 and the issue was taken to court for judgment at Ntaja Magistrate,” said Dailesi.
The man was sued for defilement and child abduction cases by Ntaja Magistrate and he was issued a prison sentence of 30 months for the two cases.
Despite this being the case, Loveness’s father said that the judgment did not impress him since the judgment was supposed to be more than what the court ruled.
“30 months is not enough for me. It was supposed to be more than that since there are two cases involved,” said Mathews.
Based on the concerns of the father of Loveness, Kalambo CAG took this issue to Kawinga Community Victim Support Unit to revise the judgment again and, now, they are waiting for the response.
When Loveness was found, she responded that the main reason why she was at the man’s house is because of the wrong choice of friends.
“I had a friend who was also a friend to the git who locked me inside his house,” said Loveness.
Mathews said that Loveness is now home and back to school, and is doing well in class. Now that Kalambo CAG keeps on visiting him and the family to encourage them on the importance of putting much effort into Loveness’ education
“Since Kalambo CAG has been visiting my house to encourage me to be encouraging Loveness on the importance of education, I always make sure to check on what she writes at school and even ensure that she goes to school every day,” said Mathews.
Mathews said that Kalambo CAG also advised him to be very mindful about the choice of friends that his child interacts with as some may indulge her in notorious acts and disturb her education journey.
Loveness said that she would like to become a nurse when she finishes her education.