Chiradzulu, July 31, Mana: Children in Chiradzulu have asked parents and local leaders not to facilitate child marriages, something they singled out as one of the challenges the district is facing.
This was on Friday during the commemoration of the Day of the African Child at Ndunde Primary School. The day is commemorated on June 16 every year.
One of the children, Limbani Patrick, a Form 3 student at Nakhundi Community Day Secondary School (CDSS), said some of the child marriages happening in the district were being influenced by local leaders and parents.
“Rights of children are being violated through early marriages, child labor, and sexual harassment.
“This day should, therefore, make our parents and local leaders aware that they are not supposed to allow child marriages,” Patrick said.
“Churches should also not bless these marriages in an attempt to end the malpractice in the district,” Patrick added.
The student observed that due to poverty, some children were being driven into commercial sex work, alleging that a day cannot pass without reports of sexual harassment in the district.
Speaking earlier, a representative of the District Education Manager for Chiradzulu, Ruth Chibani, said the education sector was working with different partners to improve the learning environment and welfare of children in schools.
“Some of the partners working in the district provide maize flour for school feeding, learning materials, uniforms, paying school fees, constructing toilets and changing rooms for girls.
“In addition, others are drilling boreholes so that learners have all the basic needs for their education,” she said.
Chibani added that the education office also monitors teachers in schools to make sure that they deliver high-quality education.
“The monitoring is done to ensure education is provided to all without looking at their culture or religion; that they also enroll children with visual and hearing impairment at Mary View and Montfort demonstration schools so that no child is left behind,” she added.
Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) District Operations Officer, Lucy Nthala advised children in the district to ensure they know their rights and duties to defend the same.
She added that her organization would continue to fight for children’s rights.
On his part, Senior Chief Kadewere asked his subjects to stop child abuse and look after each child so that they grow to their full potential. He also asked teachers to desist from corporal punishment to the children.
Director of Administration for Chiradzulu District Council, Ellestina Mmame admitted that the district had registered an increase in defilement cases, saying the council was working towards ending the malpractice through traditional leaders and other partners.
Mmame said the council would like to eradicate early marriages and pregnancies which she said were forcing children to drop out from school.