The First Lady sampling the books together with girl pupils that graced the function
* When girls are educated, their countries become more powerful, stronger and prosperous
* Unfortunately in African communities, girls and women often miss out on the chance to access education
* It is a common knowledge that countless Malawian girls struggle for their education every single day
* There are many brilliant girls out there who are struggling financially and socially to meet their educational needs
By Mphatso Nkuonera, MANA
Merck Foundation has donated 30,000 text storybooks to the Ministry of Education to help in raising awareness on issues of infertility among the learners at a tender age.
Speaking at the handover ceremony to the Ministry of Education held at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Tuesday, First Lady Madame Monica Chakwera — who is the ‘Merck More Than a Mother Ambassador’ in Malawi — described the donation will impact a lot to the pupils of the country and mould them into respectful parents on infertility issues.
“I am greatly honored today to present to you the storybooks received from the Merck Foundation in my role as Merck More Than a Mother Ambassador in Malawi.
“The storybooks are: Educating Alinafe; Chosadziwa Phiri’s story and Make the Right Choice,” she said.
Chosadziwa Phiri’s story is a storybook for pupils and students to raise awareness about infertility and to start teaching the value of respect and nurturing empathy from a very young age of four.
‘Make the Right Choice’ is a story book that the Merck Foundation has published to raise awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic in communities and promote honesty, loyalty and hardworking among young people.
‘Educating Alinafe’ is a storybook that covers the importance of empowering girls through education to break the cycle of poverty, which unfortunately, has a female face.
“When girls are educated, their countries become more powerful, stronger and prosperous. Unfortunately, as you are all aware, in our African communities, girls and women often miss out on the chance to access education,” she said.
She added that it is a common knowledge that countless Malawian girls struggle for their education every single day.
“There are many brilliant girls out there who are struggling financially and socially to meet their educational needs and yet, educating a girl child in particular, can kick-start a great positive cycle of development.”
She added that an educated woman has the skills, information and self confidence that she needs to be a better parent, a worker and citizen.
“It is, therefore, for this reason that I am very happy to work closely with Merck Foundation to empower girls and women to access quality education.
“Currently, together with the Merck Foundation, my own Foundation will, in the Academic Year 2021, support 40 brilliant and intelligent girls with scholarships, mostly in Form 1, across the country who are struggling to pay school fees,” she said.
She then encouraged girls be dedicated and step into frontiers that are male dominated, saying education is the only thing that no one can take away from them.
“You can study everything from science, technology, mathematics, accounting, engineering, chemistry and arts, among many others. You can be a doctor, engineer, judge, scientist, pilot, banker, investor, an artist, a minister and President,” she advised.
Deputy Minister of Education, Madalitso Kambauwa, hailed Merck Foundation for its gesture, saying the books will make a great difference in the spirit of instilling a reading culture in children.
“Parents and guardians will also help a lot in the progression of their studies at home since they will have enough text books at home for study.
“My plea is to pupils and everyone else to help in the care of these books so that the fruits are realized later,” Kambauwa said.