Parents in Thyolo have been advised to take full responsibility over their children’s needs and stop forcing them into early marriages if they were to be responsible citizens.
District Social Welfare officer for Thyolo Elizabeth Mlato gave the advice on Friday at Ntambanyama Primary School ground when the district was commemorating this year’s ‘Day of the African Child’ under the theme ‘Protecting children’s rights in conflict and crisis in Malawi.
She noted that instead of protecting their children from all sorts of abuses, parents were in the forefront perpetuating such abuses by among other things dropping them out of school and forcing them into early marriages.
‘The situation is bad because currently over 40 percent of young girls are dropping out of school because of early pregnancies and that most of these marriages are being encouraged by parents due to poverty. Poverty is the main factor that is fuelling these marriages as the families cannot economically sustain themselves.”
“In this case, the parents send the girls away as one way of easing their economic challenges. This is not good because education rights of these children are not being respected,” Mlato said.
On this note, Mlato said government is doing everything possible to ensure that young
children were being protected and respected in the country by among other things mobilizing resources to support and build child protection workers.
In his remarks, Thyolo district council Chairperson Councilor John Olima said it was the duty and responsibility of every person to learn to respect the rights of children including those who are vulnerable.
“People in the country should learn that while they uphold their rights, they should also learn to respect and protect the rights of other people including children,” Olima said adding that households and communities needed also to be empowered to take care of children as well as providing assistance in humanitarian situations.
Earlier, senior chief Chikumbu of Mulanje who is a role model for Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) advised girls to be ambitious and aim high if they were to achieve their goals.
“You have to take good care of yourselves. Challenges are there but you have to work hard in your studies and be ambitious. If you do this, you will succeed,” she said.
The event, which was sponsored by CAMFED, was spiced up by a number of local performers. The Day of the African Child is commemorated every year on 16th June by member states of the African Union (AU). Malawi commemorated the day in Mwanza.
Source: Malawi News Agency