This is the story of Joana Malinga, 13, who has changed her mind to go back to school after sharing constructive ideas with friends during the seminar that Lutheran Hour Ministry facilitated at Kachikho Project site in Lilongwe rural northeast constituency.
Joana comes from Makwenda village very closer to the project site where the seminar was held. She is young girl from a poor family of seven children, and she is the sixth born.
The 13th year old girl attended her primary education at Mphangula School in the same area, and attained standard eight, a primary school leaving certificate examination class in Malawi.
She was doing well in class tests. But challenges she always faced at home made her to drop out of school.
Some of the challenges faced, according to Joana, were poor financial support from the parents because the parents had to care for many children at once, but they were so poor.
“I wanted to continue with education, but my father, a mere peasant farmer, was occupied with several responsibilities including feeding, clothing, and caring for us children of which it was impossible.” responded Joana to Lutheran Hour Ministry staff.
Joana Malinga attended the seminar that Lutheran Hour Ministry organized from Friday, 2nd to 3rd of October 2015 at Kachikho Community Hall where young people shared awareness of issues affecting them.
Through group discussions, presentations and meditations young participants shared among them issues of early marriages and pregnancies and their vices that was meant to prepare young people to develop necessary resilient decisions and grow morally health.
They had also to learn about resource management skills so that youth are able to manage time, finances, materials and energies properly as tool to develop economically.
Lack of knowledge in resource management have negatively impacted the lifestyles of youth in the area such that some of them indulge in promiscuous sexual behaviors neglecting education and remain poor.
“In almost every village there are two or more girls who have dropped out of school so early before completing primary education, a thing that worries the future of our young people’s lives.” Group Village Headman (GVH) Penga reports.
GVH Penga is senior local leader who looks after at least thirty villagers (subjects) in Mazengera Area. He attended the seminar together with other three local leaders to witness the initiation learning activities.
However at the closing ceremony on Sunday Joana Malinga, out of all her fellow youth told the gathering of ministry staff, parents, guardians and the local village leaders in attendance that the seminar had been an eye opener to her such that she opts for going back to school and become an independent woman in future.
Joana said, “the seminar has changed my mind to go back to school, because I have now seen that education has no age limit.”
How then Joana will proceed with her education? “But I need external support from well wishers to help me go ahead with education. Initially I will ask my relatives to lay a foundation for my support.” suggest Joana.
There are so many young people at Kachikho project area facing various ills due to ignorance. Holding such kind of youth gatherings will give youth an affordable platform for youth to share ideas how they best bail out themselves from social, economic and cultural traps they are in.