46% of girls in Malawi get married before the age of 18, resulting in many not having the chance to get an education. Rare Charity is working to provide educational opportunities for young girls in Malawi through the “Back to School” project which launched in late 2019.
The ‘Back to School’ project is a scholarship programme giving young girls the chance to gain an education and to improve their life and wellbeing. The charity focuses on the tea growing regions of Malawi such as Satemwa, where their nine new scholars live.
The charity provides access, opportunities and opens doors to girls who may otherwise find it difficult to gain a proper education. In December 2020, the seed funder, Fore Trust provided a £15,000 grant which has gone towards providing enough financial support for the nine new scholars.
Wongani Jambo, a Rare Charity scholar who has recently graduated from university, says “Satemwa is one of the communities where the majority of girls do not go further with education”. This is due to many reasons, but mainly due to the high costs of school fees and the high rates of child marriages within the area.
Malawi has some of the highest rates of child marriages in the world with 46% of girls marrying before the age of 18. This being a huge obstacle for girls gaining education and going further with higher education such as university.
By welcoming 9 new scholars, the charity is able to give some of the young girls a fantastic opportunity they wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. Henrietta Lovell, founder and chair of trustees for Rare Charity, comments: “We are very excited to have the opportunity to assist these 9 young girls through our secondary school scholars project”.
Overall, the charity now supports 23 young scholars from the Satemwa area with 14 currently studying at university or other higher learning institutions and 3 recent graduates – Osman Karimu, Enelys Black and Wongani Jambo.
Unfortunately, the closures of schools due to the pandemic in March 2020 meant that there was greater pressure on young girls to abandon their education. However, Rare Charity works with two secondary schools in an attempt to mitigate the risks of a young girl’s homelife interfering with her studies. These two schools also provide regular school meals in order to try and help the increasing food insecurity in the area.
Rare Charity continues on their journey to seek more funding in order to provide even more girls from Malawi with the opportunity to pursue an education and follow their goals and ambitions. By doing so, the charity is able to improve communities and living conditions and pull many out of poverty. With continual funding for 3-5 years, the charity aims to enrol 10 new girls a year onto this scholarship programme and lead them towards the careers they dream of.