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Parents thankful to CAG

According to research, in Malawi, 42% of girls are married before the age of 18 and the country is the twelfth highest rate of child marriages, I'm the world. Most of the time, girls are vulnerable to the effects of child marriage and extreme poverty, forced sex, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, domestic abuse, and physically demanding agricultural work.

According to facts, only 35 percent of children in Malawi complete primary school, and this low ratio can be attributed to multiple factors.

Malawi as one of the developing nations in the southern region of Africa, the country is still facing child marriage issues in most parts of its 28 districts. One of the districts in Chikwawa.

Dropping out of school is also common in Chikwawa district due to cultural practices, child marriages, pregnancy, and contracting HIV/AIDS due to unprotected sexual intercourse among the children.

Sofia Kasowa is one of the young girls who got pregnant at the age of 25 in 2020 when she was in standard 7 at Chapomoka primary school. She delivered the baby in December 2020 and the baby is now 6 months old. Sofia is now 16 years old.

Sofia lives with both of her parents at Chapomoka village, Group Village Head Chapomoka, Traditional Authority N'gabu in Chikwawa district.

She said that the boy is a form four student (name withheld) at Ng'abu Secondary School and proposed to her up until she accepted the proposal to be his girlfriend.

During the time of being together, Sofia said that the guy used to say that he is going to take care of her and even their baby when they enter into a marriage.

"He lied to me that he is going to provide all the support as I noticed when the child was born," said Sofia.

According to her father, Steward Kasowa, he was very disappointed as a father after witnessing that his child is pregnant since he was not expecting it.

Kasowa said that he did not have any plans for her child's future on education and the pregnancy was a result of the shuttlement of Sofia's education.

"I did not know what to do as my child whom I expected to write her Primary School Leaving Certificate examination the following year,"

Charles Singano, who is a Chairperson for Chapomoka CAG, said that with the training that he received under the Breakthrough Action project funded by USAID through Save the Children and implemented by Creative Center for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM), he reached out to Kasowa's family after noticing that Sofia is not going to school.

'I encouraged the parents not to give up on their child but to wait until the child delivers and send her back to school," said Singano.

Singano said that during the training, one of the topics that inspired him to encourage the family of Kasowa to send their girl child back to school is human rights.

"There are human rights as well as children rights that puts much emphasis on ensuring that children are educated such as the right to education which I did not know before the training," said Singano.

According to the mother, she said that after realizing that her child is pregnant, at first, she wanted to get Sofia to abort the pregnancy but changed her mind after receiving some encouragement messages from Singano.

"Getting Sofia to abort the baby was going to put her life at risk. I just had to wait to send Sofia back to school as I raise her child at home," said the mother

Sofia said that after delivering the baby, she expected that the boy would provide all the basic needs that any newborn child needs.

"My parents are the ones that are struggling to buy clothes, soap, and other basic needs for my child and I have seen that it is better to go back to school," said Sofia.

She said that she broke up with the boy after she noticed that no other support was coming from him rather than accepting the situation. Since she went to start staying at the boy's house, she moved away and came back to her parent's house who encouraged her on the future of finishing her education after the birth of the child

"I am now at my parent's house and willing to go back to school and continue with my education and assist my parents on basic needs after finishing my education," said Sofia.

Sofia said that she wishes to become a teacher after finishing school and with the advice that she receives from her parents on the importance of education and the negative impacts of not being educated.

Sofia's parents are very thankful to CAG for the support they rendered to them when they ran out of options when their child was pregnant.

"We are ready to send our child back to school and provide all the support that will be needed using the little money that we get after selling our farm produce," said Kasowa.


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